Arab Detroit

Posted by Arab Detroit on March 22, 2010 in News Clips

Arab American Institute’s Helen Samhan shares the benefits of partnering with the Census Bureau for the 2010 Census outreach efforts. The Census Bureau seeks over 100,000 partnerships for the 2010 Census with organizations, religious institutions, businesses, schools, etc. to increase the reach of the Census, especially in small hard-to-reach communities.

The Arab American Institute (AAI), the lead organization representing Arab Americans’ policy and community interests, was founded in 1985 by James Zogby. Samhan is the Executive Director of AAI and has been working alongside the Census team to encourage Arab American participation in the Census for the past 20 years.

“It is definitely a positive action for organizations in the Arab American community to become active in the 2010 Census,” says Samhan. It is an opportunity to promote civic leadership within the community and introduces organizations and their members to the local political decision-makers.

Arab American organizations can also educate their audiences about the benefits of the 2010 Census for the development of hospitals, schools, police stations, roads and other critical community services as well as stress the value of a complete count for projections of Congressional figures.

Samhan suggests working with the local Census offices to produce bilingual brochures and to get local non-profit and religious organizations involved. “Arabic language networks are extremely important because the hardest to enumerate people in the states would be those who tune in to Arabic language networks,” added Samhan.

To ease the process, a new shorter form has been introduced; residents only answer ten easy questions. It is important to realize that every person must be counted whether he/she is a citizen or non-citizen, documented or undocumented for the purpose of bettering each individual community.

The Census Bureau guarantees total privacy and confidentiality. In addition, with the new presidency, there is newfound hope to involve recently arrived immigrants, who in the past might have felt excluded from government affairs such as the Census. The Census Bureau hopes that partnering with local Arab American organizations will bring a greater sense of inclusion to these recent immigrants.

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