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Census, Hard to Count Communities, and the Effort to Reach Them

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This year the United States Department of Commerce will begin the effort to count every person in the nation through the 2020 Census.

This count is used to determine the allocation of more than $675 billion in federal funds annually for community programs and services, including schools, hospitals, and even job training. In addition to federal funds, state, and local governments use census information for planning and allocating funds for new school construction, libraries, roads and bridges, highway safety, and public transportation systems, location of police and fire departments, among many other projects.

Additionally, Congress also uses these totals to determine the amount of sitting representatives within the US House, and district lines are redrawn. This Census will be the first that can be completed online and via phone. The census will provide the census form in 13 languages online and on the phone. It’s important to remember that the Census information is constitutionally protected and stays within the Census Bureau.

Throughout the process of Census 2020, Wind of the Spirit (Wots) of Morris County, immigrant resource center, is working with the Census Bureau to reach Hard-To-Count (HTC) communities in Morris County. Many Latino community members are weary of providing personal information of any kind to federal entities, as a result of misinformation and the actions of the current administration regarding efforts to include a Citizenship question, and immigration enforcement as a whole. Wind of the Spirit is working with the Census Bureau as a complete count committee to inform the Morris / Essex community of what the census is, and why it is important, in the hopes of busting myths and misguided concerns. WotS will begin a community promoter training over the next few weeks with the purpose of training members from our own immigrant community to engage our neighbors, commit them to be counted, and following up through pledge cards through April and May to ensure a full count. Finally, Wind of the Spirit is creating Census videos in seven different languages (Spanish, Mam, Arabic, Hindi, Haitian Creole, English, and Guajarti) to counter misinformation within immigrant communities. The message we hope to spread is that the Census is safe, easy, and smart. The importance of the count for immigrant communities this year is clear, for every unaccounted three year old, their schools, hospitals, and community will be underfunded for ten years. Wind of the Spirit and the Census Bureau are committed to reaching every person in our HTC communities.

-Kevin Escobar, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center Tel 973 538 2035
Census NY Regional Office (212) 584 3400 or www.census.gov