One year ahead of Census Day 2020, Asian Americans Advancing Justice launches awareness campaign and website
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144 firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. – Today Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, launched a Get Out the Count website, and a suite of census resources as part of a campaign to improve participation in the decennial census by Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
Exactly one year out from Census Day 2020, 55 percent of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are not aware of the upcoming 2020 Census, according to research from Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Our organizations, as well as leaders and organizations in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities across the nation, are demanding a fair and accurate count for all our communities in a census that will determine voting representation in a rapidly-changing America and the allocation of more than $800 billion in annual federal funding.
“The 2020 Census is our only chance in a decade to get a full and accurate count of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities,” said Terry Ao Minnis of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Without an accurate count, valuable dollars that support immigrant and minority communities will be lost, and they will not be represented accurately or served in the way they are Constitutionally entitled.”
“More than $800 billion of federal funding is allocated based on census data, supporting essential programs like education and healthcare,” said Julia Marks, Staff Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. “Over the next year, people will hopefully be learning about the census, reaching out to their neighbors, and making sure that everyone in their communities is fully counted.”
The 2020 Census faces challenges like no other census before. The U.S. Census Bureau's own research shows that Asian Americans have the highest rates of concern about census confidentiality and the mistrust is heightened by the surveys' inclusion of a potential question on citizenship status. The first-ever online response option risks confusing some community members and leaving behind those on the wrong side of the digital divide. Funding challenges mean there will be far less in-person, non-response follow-up than ever before. And the entire operation occurs in an anti-immigrant environment in our national politics.
“Georgia has one of the fastest growing Asian American populations in the country. Our communities have much at stake with Census 2020,” Stephanie Cho, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta. “We are working with partners in localities across the state to ensure that the hardest to count communities are effectively reached and that we stand together to be counted and have our voices heard in this anti-immigrant climate that seeks to silence and erase us.”
Visit the newly-launched website at CountUsIn2020.org where a wide range of resources are available. They include topical webinars on many subjects from how people are counted in the census to how the faith community gets involved in the census. The website contains an in-depth legal memo on the citizenship question and language access; fact sheets about what questions are on the census; how to count children; and state-specific data. Soon we will unveil a census toolkit to increase or jumpstart community-based organizations’ engagement on census. Additional resources will be added each month to the site to help raise awareness about the census, to educate about the benefits of the census, and to activate our communities to participate.
“California is home to the largest Asian American population in the country, so we must have a coordinated effort to educate our hard-to-count community members,” said An Le, 2020 Census Statewide Network Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “In addition to supporting the development of CountUsIn 2020 materials, we, along with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus and our partner organizations across California, will also be developing California-specific resources to promote the census and address the unique challenges and diversity of our communities.”
"Asian Americans are a growing and dynamic community in Illinois and across the Midwest," said Andy Kang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. "We will be working to overcome these barriers to ensure we can maintain representation in Congress and collect data that more accurately reflects our diversifying communities."
As we approach Census Day 2020, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is committed to fighting for the inclusion of all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in the country we all call home.