From July 6 through 10 and beyond, CIANA will be encouraging New York’s Arab American community to get counted in the 2020 Census as part of National Arab American Census Week of Action.
Spreading awareness of the Census to the Arab community is directly tied to CIANA’s founding mission- to mitigate the impact of post-9/11 Islamophobia on Arab and Muslim communities. We’ve seen how New Yorkers of Middle Eastern and North African, as well as South Asian, heritage have been marginalized and made invisible by hate and discrimination, and how this has taken a social and economic toll on their communities.
Folks of Middle Eastern and North African descent are categorized as “white” on the Census, but are not specified according to their ethnicity or nationality. As a result, Arab communities miss out on funding and representation that the Census provides, as do many other communities of color and immigrant communities- particularly throughout Queens, including Astoria.
In addition, wariness of government and divulging personal information dissuades many Arabs, and immigrants as a whole, from completing the Census.
That's why this week and beyond, we’ll be informing all our clients and community members that the Census is safe, secure, and confidential, and cannot be shared with any government office or law enforcement agency.
We’ll let our Arab clients know that counting everyone in the Census- from newborns to adolescents to the elderly- is crucial to funding the neighborhoods they live in, the schools their children attend, and the healthcare that we all need- especially now, as we’re recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most importantly, we’re reminding all our Arab American neighbors that despite any discrimination they may face and any isolation they may feel, they count as vital members of our community.