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Park Official Wants "Hispanics" to Stop Littering Near River

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The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce "felt highly aggrieved at my actions," White says, but he defended the signs. English versions were later added.

White says now that he'd like to have signs drawn in a cartoon style, illustrating a bare foot treading on glass, "and distributed to all the bodegas on South Side."

The message might be, "Look out for your family," White says — or "Glass cuts," or "This is America, we don't do this," referring to cultural differences.

White's not terribly concerned about being politically correct, he says.

Tanya Gonzalez, supervisor of the city's Hispanic Liaison Office, says a wide range of people and ethnic groups use the park. "I don't think you can say it's just any one group" that's responsible for broken glass, she says.

Gonzalez has been working with White and the park system to get the word out about river safety and bottles being prohibited in the park, primarily on Spanish-language radio. "It's a matter of learning about the rules and following them," she says.

During a visit to Pony Pasture Friday afternoon, June 23, a Style photographer observed several Hispanic park visitors relaxing. None had bottles, nor were any discarded bottles visible in the area. The following Friday, a diverse crowd gathered there to watch the rushing river. Again, no one had bottles, and the recycling bins were filled mostly with Budweiser cans.

White says nighttime users of the park are primarily to blame.

For a couple of years, White says, the parks system has done "an expanded outreach of information" concerning what's permissible in the James River Park System. The effort has included signs in English and Spanish, and messages printed on Ukrop's bags reminding parkgoers not to bring glass. S



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