How the Census can assist our current reality

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By Paola Avendano, External Affairs Associate, Center for Social Innovation – UC Riverside

Given the detrimental repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latino communities who are disproportionately vulnerable, among other minority groups, deserve to be properly represented now more than ever.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19…Among some racial and ethnic minority groups, including non-Hispanic black persons, Hispanics and Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, evidence points to higher rates of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 than among non-Hispanic white persons.”

Many Latino working families have members who are considered essential workers and unfortunately make them vulnerable to the virus. Due to this reality, there is a high risk of essential workers bringing the virus back home where they may have numerous family members living under the same roof, making the virus more likely to spread. Yet it must be made clear that no minority group is responsible for the spread of this virus. The racial disparities have long existed even before this pandemic took center stage, they have only now become crystal clear and have been exacerbated to the point that it could no longer be ignored.

The good news is that your participation in the 2020 Decennial Census can be one easy way to help alleviate this problem. Successful emergency planning and recovery are due in large part to census data and an accurate count. With the participation of Latino families in responding to the Census, it makes it easier for states and the federal government to better prepare for future large-scale emergencies and pandemics like the one we are facing today. Although COVID-19 has forced the U.S. Census Bureau and other involved organizations to shift their census operations and outreach strategies, the work must continue in order to secure resources for the communities that need them most.

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It has never been easier to respond to the census given that the questionnaire can be completed online, over the phone, or by mail–all without having to speak with someone face to face. By doing your part in counting yourself and encouraging family and friends to do the same, you can assure that the schools, hospitals, roads, and other vital programs you utilize and rely on get their fair share of funding. Moreover, an accurate count means an equitable distribution of political power for Latinos to have a voice in decisions that affect them directly.

You can positively impact the next ten years of federal funding in the Inland Empire by simply offering 10 minutes of your time to fill out the Census. Do the future of your neighborhood a big favor and visit https://my2020census.gov or call the Spanish response line at 844-468-2020.

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