Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursdays Thoughts

Multimedia campaign urges Latino youth to participate in the U.S. Census

It’s time for the Census!!!

From a very basic perspective, the census provides a count of all the people who reside in the U.S. But one of the most important roles of the census is that it provides information that is used to determine funding and/or resource allocation for cities and states. The need to inform the people in our communities about the importance behind the census is crucial in getting them to participate.

There are many reasons why people may not see the need or importance of participating in the census. It can be anything from not being made aware of the significance of the census or living in fear of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The latter issue is something that many individuals in communities such as South Los Angeles have to deal with. The constant fear of being “discovered” is something that needs to be addressed. Our people need to understand that the census is not conducted by ICE and that the individuals that are knocking at their door are not there to report them to immigration. These people have been conditioned to live in fear, therefore, it is not their fault. For that reason, it is crucial that community leaders and celebrities continue to promote the importance of the census.

Besides the critical role that it plays in allocating funding, it is also an opportunity for all the people in our communities to be counted and be given importance. The lives of all the immigrants in this country need to be accounted for because they play a crucial role in our economy and contribute their fair share into the capitalistic system we live in.

There have been many issues with the way in which those structuring the census have arbitrarily decided how to label certain ethnic groups or which groups have actually been included in those choices. In many ways the census is racial creation at its best but regardless of that, as a society we need to do a better job of informing our youth why they should care about the census. Many underserved communities need more resources and because of the lack of participation in the census many cities are allocated funds that only represent ¾ of their population or so; therefore, encouraging individuals to participate in the process is crucial!

So, be aware of what the census does for us and encourage and educate those around you, especially our youth to do that same. 


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