Graphic of hands counting.

Invitations to participate in this year’s U.S. Census are starting to arrive in mailboxes across the country and The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund is leading an effort to ensure a full Latino count. NALEO Director of National Census Program Lizette Escobedo told Luz Collective that historically, the Latino communities have not been accurately counted, so her goal is to change that this year. With Census Day quickly approaching on April 1, here are some reasons why Latinas should get involved.

Representation matters.

It’s becoming more important than ever to see people who look like us in pop culture and in public office. Our communities were under counted in past censuses, but according to NALEO, the Latino community is 58.8 million strong. We are the nation’s second largest population group. There’s power in numbers. It’d be hard to brush us aside if we show up for the count.

You can fill out the census while you’re in self-quarantine.

During this vital time of social distancing from the coronavirus, you can fill out the questionnaire from inside the comfort of your home. You can fill it out online, by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or the old school way by snail mail.

Diane Guerrero writing something down. diane guerrero latina GIF by Identity Giphy

There are only nine questions.

That’s it. Nine simple questions you should know the answers to like your name and your birthday. Everyone who lives in the household the majority of the time, including children, must be counted. The questionnaire won’t ask you for your social security number, your bank account, or credit card numbers so be on alert for anyone asking for this on behalf of the census. No census document will ask for this information.

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Your information is safe.

The census may ask for specific details about everyone who lives in the household, but the Census Bureau is required by law to keep your answers strictly confidential. Your information won’t be used against you or handed to any law enforcement. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who we all know as AOC) confirmed this with the 25th Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham himself.

There is no citizenship question.

Despite President Donald Trump’s initial efforts to discourage non-U.S. citizens from participating in this year’s census, (thanks to the Supreme Court), the census will not ask about your citizenship. Everyone living in the U.S. regardless of their residency status, counts.

There is no language barrier.

To ensure everyone can fill out the census, the census’ website offers the questions in 59 languages, including Spanish. Some of the paper questionnaires are mailed in English and Spanish.

The results could bring more community resources.

The information collected from the census is used to determine federal funding and resources directly for your community, such as educational grants and healthcare, within the next decade. The data is also used to determine the number of House of Representatives seats for your state as well as draw congressional and state legislative districts. These lawmakers also decide what to provide to your community, so it is important to vote for officials that will best serve you.

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