by Monica Speight. This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.
Protect Southeast Asian Americans’ rights to be counted and seen
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that he has directed the Census Bureau to add an untested and unnecessary citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is now taking public comments to inform the final questionnaire, and our community has an opportunity to establish a strong, clear public record that we oppose the addition of a citizenship question, but we support the expansion of the race and ethnicity categories.
Including a citizenship question puts the 2020 Census at grave risk of a significant undercount among hard-to-reach populations, like Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities, especially in this increasingly hostile anti-immigrant political environment. The inclusion of this question undermines the accuracy of the 2020 Census and jeopardizes a full, fair, and accurate count of our communities. When communities are underrepresented, it negatively impacts their voices in government, as well as critical funding for education, healthcare, housing, and other essential programs.
EXPANDED RACE AND ETHNICITY CATEGORIES
The systemic barriers that SEAAs face are only made known through the collection and reporting of disaggregated data through the census. Without this data, the most underserved and marginalized communities in the United States remain invisible, and community needs are unmet. Expansion of race and ethnicity categories allows SEAA groups to be listed separately so that our diverse community does not become absorbed under the broader Asian American umbrella.
We need your help
SEARAC is joining Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NALEO Educational Fund, and other national organizations to ensure community voices are heard. We want our community to show up strong and loud!
Our goal? Submit a minimum of 1,000 individual comments and 50organizational comments from across our diverse SEAA community. The deadline for public comments is August 7, 2018, at midnight.
Take Action: The Census Bureau Needs to Hear From YOU
Tell Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: We do NOT want the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census; we want expanded race and ethnicity categories.
3. Share, share, share.
Help spread awareness by forwarding this action alert link to your listservs, partners, family, and friends. The 2020 Census will impact all communities, particularly hard-to-reach communities of color like SEAAs.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.