Advancing Justice | AAJC President and Executive Director John C. Yang on 2020 American Census Investment Act

October 12, 2017

Remarks from October 11, 2017 Press Event

Thank you, Congresswoman Maloney. My name is John Yang. I am the Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.  Our mission is to promote the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build a fair and equitable society for all. I would like to thank the Congresswoman for introducing the legislation on the Census today because it is critically important.

The Census comes every ten years and we do not have a second chance. Under the funding that has been proposed up until now, it has been inadequate for our communities. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic community in this country. In the past seven years, one quarter of the American population growth is because of Asian Americans. But unless we have an accurate Census, we will not know the needs of this fast-changing demographic. We will not know the needs of all of our diverse communities.

And let’s be clear. What does this underfunding mean? This underfunding means that we will not have the resources necessary to test what sort of messaging will work.  As other speakers have already talked about, we are in an environment where people are fearful of the government. People are fearful of intrusive questions. We need to understand what will cause people to respond to the census, and to provide critical pieces of information that we need. We also understand that underfunding means that communities of color, rural Americans, impoverished Americans, and children are not counted fairly and accurately.

This cannot be right. This is an America where everyone counts.  We need to make sure that is the case in this census.  Thank you.