Authorities want the community to be informed about the importance of counting

More participation is sought during the 2020 Census

The Supreme Court determined to withdraw the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

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A few months after the 2020 Census, the city of Los Angeles has been responsible for promoting the greatest possible participation of the community regardless of immigration status.

By obtaining an accurate count, the government can decide where to provide benefits and install resources for schools, health clinics, fire departments, among other services.

Improvement of roads and highways can also be done starting with the densest areas.

However, unfortunately some areas of Los Angeles did not have much participation during the 2010 Census.

According to data from the interactive Hard to Count (HTC) 2020 map, it is estimated that in certain areas of Wilmington, Compton and Watts – south of Los Angeles – the share was 65% or less.

Patricia Ramos, spokesperson for the 2020 Census, said that after investigating the reason, they discovered that the low participation was the result of poor understanding of the language and people who had recently moved to those areas.

There was also the group of young people who perhaps did not know the impact of the count in their community.

"We are now working with specialists, whose job is exclusively to go to areas with low participation and make contact with organizations, community groups – such as local heads of government, churches and businesses," Ramos said.

"We want these areas to enhance their visibility in the Census and at the same time have many voices of confidence, such as business and schools, that highlight the idea that why their participation is important."

Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, who represents the Watts and Wilmington areas, confirmed that these areas are known to have had a low turnout in 2010 but hopes that this may change in 2020.

"We don't have an exact date but we hope to have a community meeting to report before the Census, in March," he said.

The congresswoman added that even Hispanic Bar Association offered her support on any issue, so she asked them to talk to the community about the importance of their participation in the count.

“Having lawyers who talk to people and tell them that it is okay to fill it out (the Census questionnaire) gives them more confidence to fill out their form.

Barragan said that one of the reasons why they are putting so much effort in promoting the Census is because if people are not counted, they can be lost from government services, such as SNAP food and social services programs; as well as congressional seats.

"It's a very big issue, if we lose a seat in Congress, it means less representation," he explained.

The network of 99 neighborhood councils in Los Angeles joined the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti to lead local efforts and obtain a full count regardless of immigration status.

Raquel Beltrán, director of the Neighborhood Council Department, said they are committed to supporting regional efforts to ensure that difficult-to-count populations in Los Angeles participate in the Census.

He indicated that the surveys showed that the people who decided to participate or not to participate were influenced by their acquaintances whom they considered a reliable source.

“To continue that, we are helping to identify and train reliable community leaders to serve their neighborhoods as Goodwill Census Ambassadors,” said Beltrán.

"These local leaders with pre-established relationships are key to building trust in the census process."

Mayor Garcetti's office is expected to hold a community event in February 2020 to report on the census at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington. There is still no exact date.


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