Community Service Project - Preparing for the Census
In partnership with the ya es hora ¡HAGASE CONTAR! campaign and the United States Census Bureau, CHCI is actively spreading the message about the importance of a full Latino count.
As the largest minority within the United States, representing more than 14 percent of the overall population, our census participation is imperative. The census data is fundamental to a list of issues that directly impact our community: education, healthcare, economic development, and more. It also determines our political representation as well as federal, state, and local funding.
CHCI Chair Rep. Nydia Velázquez outlines the direct impact of the Census in a recent public service announcement.
"The information is completely confidential and will help determine how over $300 million will be distributed annually in federal aid; better schools and hospitals and more political representation for our community. So, when you get the census in the mail, fill it out, and make yourself count," said Velázquez.
An accurate count is key to building political strength and ensuring that our communities have the resources they need.
In preparation for the Census, the fellows are completing a series of outreach activities to inform the community about the importance of their participation.
The fellows partnered with civic organizations and local leaders to disseminate Census information and materials educating the public about the significance of being counted.
Fellows Participate in "Census March to the Mailbox" Campaign
On April 10, 2010, some fellows volunteered for the "Census March to the Mailbox" event in Columbia Heights. With other volunteers from DC Mayor's Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) and the Census, the fellows visited houses giving out materials and talking to residents in an effort to encourage people to send their census forms.
Fellows and Interns meet with Robert Groves and Rebecca Blank
On March 19, 2010, CHCI Fellows and Interns met with Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census; and with Rebecca Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Department of Commerce. Groves and Blank discussed the history, purpose, formulation, and process of the U.S. Census and answered questions on issues such as: difficulties in reaching the Latino and other hard-to-count communities, ambiguity of questions related to race and ethnicity, and the socioeconomic impact of the Census in the years to come.
Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew, the Apostle Catholic Church
On March 14, 2010, the fellows teamed up with the parishioners of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, a Catholic church in Washington, D.C. Census materials were distributed to the attendees of the Spanish mass, who were eager to learn more about the Census.
Census Outreach Efforts in Mt. Pleasant
On March 13, 2010, the fellows distributed Census materials in front of Don Juan's Salvadoran restaurant in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The fellows were able to have one-on-one conversations with residents and pedestrians in this primarily Spanish-speaking neighborhood in order to explain the importance of the census and its impact on the Latino community.
Bilingual volunteers were needed particularly because the community primarily spoke Spanish.
Greater Deliverance Church Health Fair
On January 29, 2010, the fellows attended a health fair at Greater Deliverance Church in Washington, D.C. to educate the community about the Census.
The purpose of the health fair was to provide services that are lacking in the community and inform people about important things that are going on.
Many people mentioned they didn't know anything about the Census and seemed surprised it was going on. A few knew about the Census and had applied to be Census Takers. Overall, we felt that a lot more work still needs to be done to make sure the community is informed about the importance of the Census. - Public Policy Fellow Karla Acevedo
On January 22, 2010, the fellows received additional Census informational training sessions from NALEO on how to better inform hesitant participants.
NALEO gave us the building capacity to go out to the Latino community in D.C and educate them about the Census. They gave us the tools and resources to be able to explain to the community why the Census is important and how it impacts them directly.
We were taught by NALEO how to properly answer important questions that might hinder people from participating or filing out the Census form correctly. The questions were around confidentiality, race and ethnicity, legal status, and pregnant women.
Another important thing NALEO did was walk us through the Census and answer any questions that we had. This was helpful because it provided us the opportunity to understand the difficulties people might encounter filling out the Census form.
Once the training was over, we broke up into small groups and brainstormed what we wanted to do. We decided that we want to focus on educating Latinos in college, recent immigrants, and faith-based organizations. - Public Policy Fellow Karla Acevedo.
Office of Latino Affairs Christmas Party
On Friday, December 4, 2009, the fellows partnered with the D.C. Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) to get the word out about the upcoming Census.
The Fellows set up informational booths during OLA's Christmas party chatting with over 150 people about the Census. Census flyers, bags and pins were also distributed.