It’s not just the election this year — the 2020 Census is a big deal.
Census response rates in cities and particularly in minority, immigrant, and mulitlingual communities are chronically low due to fear, poor outreach, language access, and a range of other factors. As a result, the communities are rendered politically invisible and lose resources.
ELA is working as part of a citywide effort (and related efforts are going on all over the country) to ensure that this year everyone is counted. For us, it grew out of the realization that the census registers fewer than 200 languages for NYC (even fewer in other cities), while ELA has mapped over 650. Much more has to be done to reach most of the communities we’re part of and work with, and the census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity.
As the census hits nationwide in the next few weeks, ELA is doing two main things to “get out the count”:
One: We’re sharing our research (particularly our language map), our experience, and our contacts far and wide so that agencies and organizations learn about and can reach communities.
Two: We’re doing outreach ourselves and trying to close the language gap, making video and audio recordings about the census in languages that no one else is covering, particularly Indigenous Latin American languages that have tens of thousands of speakers in NYC alone. We’re even getting out into the streets to counter the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty around the census and to talk about how important it is.
Please join us! Anyone who livs in the U.S. can take our Census Pledge— which means that you commit to filling out the census when it arrives in the next few weeks. You can also help us spread the word: both the pledge and messages like Ismael’s.