Posted on October 18, 2016 in Action Alerts

Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau released results from the 2015 National Content Test that recommend the introduction of a reporting category for Americans with origins in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This recommendation is a result of over three decades of community organizing to be properly identified by the U.S. Census, and an important step for the Arab American community. Now, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is looking for community responses to the potential category.

Americans with Middle Eastern and North African ancestry are a diverse population with ties to over twenty countries and various backgrounds. However, dramatic undercounts of our community have left us with little information on the growing number of Americans of MENA origin. Because of past efforts, we are poised to see this category on the 2020 Census. We need to make clear that this reporting category is an ethnic one, much like the Hispanic category, that represents the full diversity of Americans with Middle Eastern or North African origin.

Although lots of misinformation about the OMB request has been in the headlines, creating a separate aggregate response category for Middle Eastern or North African origin will better equip the U.S. to understand a growing constituency, allocate federal aid that addresses community-based needs and enforce civil rights laws.

We need your help to make this category a reality, join our campaign by completing 2 simple steps below:

1. Send a letter supporting the creation of a MENA category to the OMB.  

2. Urge your member of Congress to sign on to a letter supporting the MENA category.

Being counted by the census is one of the most basic forms of inclusion in America. The proposed ethnic category presents an opportunity for undercounted communities to be visible outside bigoted political rhetoric and defined by our own efforts.