Raising Census Awareness in Undercounted Communities

Maria Franco and Rose Ocampo know the importance of accurate representation. With the help of a community organization, they’re working to get an accurate count for the 2020 census in Latinx and other undercounted communities.

“We need to make sure that the community that we are working in gets fully counted,” Maria shares, “and hearing it from the people in the community that look like you and that live like you is key.

Video Transcript

Meet Maria & Rose: Census organizers

Maywood, a west Chicago neighborhood

Maria Franco: There’s a lot of challenges when it comes to filling out the census. In the Latinx community, obviously we have the immigration question.

Rose Ocampo: And they hate to share that information because they’re afraid they can be deported. No one should be afraid to fill out the census. Everything is confidential, and we have a law protecting their information.

Maria: It is in our best interest to fill this out and to receive the money that we deserve.

The following events took place before Illinois was in a state of emergency.

Census Committee Meeting

[Committee talking]

Speaker 3: It’s another community that’s not getting served because it’s undercounted.

Maria: Yeah, and just to kind of hit home with the numbers, if Maywood only counted at … What was it, 69%? Do you guys — can you imagine how many millions were missed? Because I can tell you exactly how much.

Speaker 4: Yeah, tell us.

Maria: Over ten years, $166 million in funding were missed.

Speaker 4: Think how many roads could be paved with that money.

Maria: What the schools could look like. What the infrastructure could look like.

Rose: How many policemen we could have.

Maria: Well-trained with great benefits and salaries.

The Chicago-based group forms leaders rooted in Catholic Social Tradition.

Rose: As you know, we’re going to be having a mariachi, face painting, we’re going to have a DJ, we’re going to have some food. But the most important thing is the census awareness. We want to tell all our families, it’s a Latinx outreach, but everyone is welcome to come.

(Mariachi band plays)

Maria: Census work at this time is very revolutionary. It is the first time ever that the census replies will be able to be done online, that there’s social media involved. We realize that we really have to get on the ground to reach these communities that are hard to count. The senior community, the Latinx community, the African American community — these are communities that are very hard to count.

[Talking to group] If you have any questions about the census, raise your hand. Please come and join this effort of bringing census awareness to the community. It’s super important. Thank you.

We need to make sure that the community that we are working in gets fully counted, and hearing it from the people in the community that look like you and that live like you I think is key.

Group, speaking in Spanish: I count, you count, we all count.

Rose: Hi, this is Rose with a census update. Due to the coronavirus, we can no longer meet face-to-face, but our hard work cannot stop. We need you to fill out the census by phone or online: Census 2020. I count, you count, we all count.

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