CIANA Mobilizes Immigrant Community Members for the 2020 Census


Fatima Mohamed informs our Tuesday ESL class about the importance of filling out the Census. Photo: Shambhavi Singh.

Tuesday, February 11, marked 30 days until the 2020 Census starts. CIANA was one of more than 60 organizations throughout New York City to mark the occasion by holding a Teach-In event, a pilot of NYC Census 2020, informing its clients and staff about the importance of filling out the census when self-response begins in March.

CIANA was proud to host Fatima Mohamed from the Complete Count Fund, the agency that awarded CIANA a grant to conduct Census-related outreach last fall. They spoke to our ESL students about the history of the Census, its mandate in the U.S. Constitution, the benefits of filling it out, and the potential consequences of an undercount.

Astoria, as well as Queens and New York City as a whole, did not receive an complete count in the 2010 Census. A more accurate count would ensure more money goes to improving school, roads, and overall maintenance of the neighborhood.

Fatima also dispelled myths and concerns surrounding the upcoming Census and Queens’ large immigrant population, assuring clients that information gathered from the Census cannot be given to ICE, Border Patrol, or any other immigrant-related agency to be used against them.

Shambhavi Singh, CIANA’s Programs and Administrative Manager, viewed the Teach-In as an effective way of communicating to our immigrant clients why their participation in the Census is vital to the community at large, and that it is safe for them to fill it out.

“The Complete Count Teach-In…did a great job of letting our clients and our [immigrant] community know that the census is important, that it’s safe, that it’s private, and it’ll determine the kind of resources we get over the next ten years.”

At the end of the session, clients filled out commitment cards, pledging that they will fill out the Census and contribute to a complete and accurate count.

CIANA will be launching both outreach and inreach efforts, encouraging clients and community members to fill out the Census throughout the Census period, which ends this summer. Until then, we encourage everyone to read up on why filling out the Census is important for both individuals and communities, and what’s at stake for New York City if we don’t achieve a complete count.

About Teach-in Tuesday

Teach-in Tuesday, which NYC Census 2020 held in over 60 locations on February 11, 2020, is part of the field strategy for the Complete Count Campaign, a historic and unprecedented partnership between a mayoral administration, the City Council, CUNY, and 157 community-based organizations across all five boroughs, as well as the city's three library systems, labor unions, and civic and private institutions of many types. With funding of $40 million, New York City’s proactive response is the nation’s largest municipal coordinated census campaign.

In 2010, the City's initial self-response rate was approximately 15 percentage points less than the national average. This approach is a first for municipal government anywhere, and is designed to leverage census participation as an opportunity to significantly increase civic participation, especially in historically undercounted communities.

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