Op-Ed – 2010 Census

Dear Friends,
 
This is Councilmember XX of Brooklyn’s XXth District, representing the communities of Kensington, Prospect-Lefferts, Ditmas Park, parts of Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush.
 
April 1st is officially Census Day. The day when all who live within the United States are asked to give an accurate count of our households and mail the information back. Whether you are a citizen or not, legal or undocumented, all of us are required to fill out the census form.
 
Many people do not recognize the importance of doing this. They wrongly view the census as an opportunity by the federal government to learn information about them and their households, and to use that Information against them with Immigration and Naturalization Services, Homeland Security or other government agencies. The fact is that that this simply isn’t the case. Filling out the form accurately helps the government determine how much money in federal programs and resources to give to our state.
 
Failing to return the census does a huge disservice to community. In fact, it costs our community hundreds of millions of dollars, and sometimes billions, in government services. Money that goes to improve our schools, create less overcrowding in classrooms, better hospitals and quality healthcare; safer streets and cleaner communities. Money that aids in construction, job development and economic investment. This year the federal government will use census results to determine how to distribute $400 billion to the states. New York has $25 billion at stake.
 
But financial resources are not the only thing that a failure to return the forms will cost us.
 
The census count helps to determine how many representatives a state gets to send to Congress. It determines the number of representatives there are in a district and how districts are drawn.
 
To fail to return the census is to fail our community and our children.
 
The form has ten simple questions that are easy to answer. Anyone who is over 15 years old can fill it out. Everyone who lives in the household should be counted.
 
The deadline for response is April 15th. A census taker will visit the houses of those who don’t return the form.
 
We have too much to gain not to return it. And too much to lose if we don’t.
 
If you need help with the census, please contact the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CACCI) at (718) 287-1870 or www.caccitradecenter.com. You may also visit the NYS/CACCI Census 2010 Outreach and Mobilization Office at the Flatbush Caton Market at 814 Flatbush Avenue at the corner of Caton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11226. Bilingual English, Spanish and French/Creole speaking outreach workers will be available to help you. You may also contact the NYS Census offices by visiting http://census2010.ny.gov.

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