Latino leaders push community to fill out 2020 Census

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the push for completing the 2020 Census continues, leaders in the Latino community want to make sure their voices are being heard.

The purpose of the 2020 Census is to count every person in the United States to help with funding for things such as hospitals, schools and roads.

Although some people believe there is a negative stigma surrounding filling it out, officials at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan want to assure their community that it’s safe and they’re there to help.

“It is crucial that we get that information out to our government so that our communities can be well-funded and well-represented,” said Daniela Rojas, the fund development and communications manager with Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

Rojas says for the Latino community, filling out the census isn’t always easy.

“There are barriers that include language barriers, poverty, then there’s of course the complexity of where people live,” said Rojas. “Of course, we have our undocumented population where there’s still some sort of fear about the confidentiality of the information.”

With COVID-19 limiting public gatherings, this had made it even more difficult.

“It was the intention for the Hispanic center to turn into a hub where people would have the access to the technology needed to complete the census,” said Rojas.

Rojas says there are still resources available. The center is now using its food distribution events to keep the public informed by handing out flyers and answering questions.

“It’s extremely important to be represented in the United States and to have an accurate count of who is living here, especially the Latino community because we are one of the fastest growing demographics,” said Rojas.

The census is a short survey that asks questions such as how many people live in your household, your date of birth and your race. There is no citizenship question on the form, and it remains confidential with the Census Bureau with even the FBI and other government agencies not having the legal right to access your information.

Rojas says it’s a great way to gain access to billions of dollars in federal funding.

“It’s accessibility to health care, down to roads and then most importantly schools,” said Rojas.

So, she says plain and simple, to fill it out.

“We want to be represented, we want to have that funding, this is 10 questions, 10 minutes and then it’s funding for 10 years, so we don’t want to miss that,” said Rojas.

You can fill out the 2020 Census online.

More information about the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan can be found online.