Here in Puerto Rico Town, Humboldt Park, at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC), we are partnering with our local elected officials to ensure our community is counted in the 2020 Census. The U.S. Constitution requires that every person living in the United States is counted every ten years. The 2020 census is taking place now from March through July of 2020. Census data are important to our democracy – the information we get will determine apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and how district lines are drawn at all levels of government. The Latino community for decades has been undercounted in the U.S. Census. State Senator Omar Aquino shared with us that “The threat of being undercounted will be stronger this year due to the tactics of the current administration. As a unified community, Latinos need to take a stand to ensure we receive the valuable resources our communities receive as a result of the census count. Please take the time to properly fill out the census so that our community’s voice will not be counted out.”
Senator Aquino’s statement rings very much true; Census data also guides the allocation of more than $800 billion in federal funding to programs that are crucial to the well-being of families and communities. We only get one chance every ten years at achieving a full count – these data will inform important policy decisions and determine federal funding allocations for a decade. U.S. Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García, said Latinos “have the most to win and the most to lose. I’m talking about resources; it’s also known as money or funding. I’m talking about power. The ability to influence policy from Washington D.C. to the state legislature to City Hall.” Congressman Garcia has urged us, all of us, to stand up and be counted!
As we monitor the COVID-19 situation, we have to be ready to adapt and adjust as needed to ensure we are ALL counted. State Representative Delia Ramírez shared with us at The PRCC that “As we face this public health crisis, participating in the Census now helps secure future funding for our communities. Crises like the COVID-19 are exactly why the government needs truthful, accurate and precise Census data.” Self-responding to the Census is the easiest way to make sure you are counted amid the COVID-19 situation. Residents can self-respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov/ or over the phone in English by dialing 844-330-2020 or in Spanish at 844-468-2020.
By Jessica Gutiérrez, Director of Advocacy, Policy & Community Outreach