Photo: Luz Corcuera, ED of UnidosNow

Census 2020: Latinx community needs to embrace the count

Posted on May 06, 2020 by Luz Corcuera, UnidosNow
Editor's Note: Luz Corcuera is the executive director of UnidosNow, which works locally to elevate the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement.

[You can fill out the census at my2020census.gov.]

Our conversations in the Latinx community frequently revolve around the sense of being invisible, not having representation in leadership positions, and not having a voice that is heard by those in power. We all agree that we need to start early on preparing for the work ahead, building a new generation of leaders who will aim for social, civic, and political integration.

I believe that the U.S. Census is giving us a great opportunity to be visible, to add our voices to discussions of political and social issues, and to have input on the resources that can be brought to our community. Being counted during the census will help more accurately reflect the diversity and true makeup of our community.

Just looking at the kindergarten enrollment in our Sarasota/Manatee region, which is almost 40% Latino, and the growth of Latino students in the schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties, give me a great sense of duty and civic responsibility. We are called to do our part to effectively contribute to our community, and it is imperative that we all be counted.

Something as easy as completing the census online, via regular mail, or on the phone would mean having direct input in the amount of financial resources to support our schools, health services, transportation, college tuition assistance, school lunches, disaster and emergency response as well as determining the number of congressional representatives for our state.

Every single person living in a household must be counted: babies, parents, relatives, and friends — regardless of their documentation status. The information collected by the census is confidential, as indicated in the U.S. Constitution, and we must not be afraid to participate in the decennial count. On the contrary, we should feel pride to be included and to give back to our community.

We are facing difficult days ahead with the challenges that COVID-19 is posing. This is the time that our actions need to be filled with kindness, gratitude, and solidarity. It is time to do our part by inspiring others to participate in the census and to encourage everyone to be co-participants in shaping the future of our community.

Participating in the census and being counted is one of the best acts of solidarity and allows us to give back to this generous and embracing community we all call home. I feel honored and blessed to live in a community that has a big heart. It is up to all of us to ensure that we continue to be proud of our home.

Census 2020 special coverage comes from Aspirations Journalism, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation and the Herald-Tribune Media Group to inform, inspire, and engage the community.

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