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Living Here Without English

Steve Scher
12/19/2011 at 9:00 a.m.

What is it like to live in a community where you can't communicate? More than 72,000 people in King County know firsthand how that feels. About 4 percent of local residents don't speak English. How do they find work, housing and health care? What resources are available to them? How do they learn the language? Share your stories of living here without speaking English at 1.800.289.5869 (KUOW).

Also, over the weekend North Korean dictator Kim Jong–il died of a heart attack at age 69. His son, Kim Jung–un, is slated to take over. What is the legacy of Kim Jong–il and what expectations are there for the reign of his son? What will become of the North Korean military, their nuclear pursuits and Obama's negotiations to end their nuclear enrichment program?


Marjorie Richards was the director of the ESL program at Southwest Youth and Family Services before it lost funding this November. She is also a member of the ESL faculty at the Seattle Vocational Institute of the Seattle Central Community College.

Mirutse Heyesus is from Ethiopia. He came to the United States as a second–grader and learned English by going to school in Seattle. He's now a junior at Lakeside High School. He's also a Rainier Scholar mentor, working with other immigrant and minority youth to help them to succeed in school.

Boliver Choi is a program coordinator at the Chinese Information and Service Center in the International District. Among other responsibilities, he helps those who do not speak English gain access to health care.

Mike Chinoy is a senior fellow at the US–China Institute at the University of Southern California and author of the book "Meltdown: The Inside Story Of The North Korean Nuclear Crisis."

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