Written by: Emily Zhang & Cynthia Chen Transcribed by: Richard Sun Preceptor: Julie Yang On January 18 and 19, the Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club and Service Club promoted Census 2020 at two Lunar New Year celebration events. At both events, around 100 people showed up, and the CAPA JRC reporters and Service Club members distributed information to attendees informing them of the benefits and reasons for participating in the US Census.
Student Census promoters spread information about the importance of being counted. Photo by Claire Yu
What is the Census? On National Census Day, falling on April 1 this year, people can participate in the Census through phone, mail, or online. The US Census accounts for individuals in communities, and takes data to get a broader sense of the community. The data is then used by lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others to provide programs and services for communities. The Census is also a vital part of determining where billions of dollars of federal funding goes, as well as representation in Congress. Each person accounted for in the Census gains their community $1,800 per year until the next Census.
Everyone counts. It is important for people of all ages, young or old, to participate in the Census. Photo by Claire Yu
Participating in the Census By April 1, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the Census, where individuals should respond through online, phone, or mail. During April, Census takers will also visit homes to quality check interviews. May through June, Census takers will begin visiting homes that have not responded, and make sure everyone is counted. Individuals who have questions about the Census can visit the FAQ section of 2020census.gov or call 301-763-INFO (4636) or 800-923-8282. Voices of the community on the importance of being counted One of the Census organizers, Lily Fu, emphasizes to people unsure of participating in the Census that “the Census is different from other [government organizations]... and that it’s important for the county they live in, because no matter what kind of status they are they will be counted as a person… and get the funds from the government.” Susan Lee, a Maryland State Senator representing District 16 in Maryland State Senate highlights that it is important to spread the word about the Census. “I think this is one of the most important issues of this year, because everyone needs to be counted. Why? Because it means if you’re not counted, you don’t exist,” Lee said. Community leaders and students alike can volunteer to stress the importance of having every individual counted. “We need community leaders who are Chinese American to get the word out on why we need to be counted, and students too can be involved in this too. We need to have people that the community trusts, and who better than the kids? Right? If the kids tell you, you better go out and be counted, or else, then you know what better messengers than our students,” Lee said.
Census reporters, organizers, Maryland State Senator, Susan Li, and District 15 State Delegate, Lily Qi, at the event. Photo by Claire Yu
Kenneth, a middle schooler at Hoover Middle School volunteered as a Census promoter. His job is to let people know the benefits of the Census, and convince them to fill it out. Through this experience, he learned a lot about himself, and enjoyed talking to the community. “It's like a test of confidence. You have to talk to strangers but it's not bad because when you know that you're helping the community, it feels good,” Kenneth said. To find out more information about the Census, visit 2020census.gov.
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.