Posted by Suher Adi on April 01, 2019 in Blog

On April 1st the Arab American Institute along with other Arab American groups across the country are participating in the first 2020 Census Day of Action, to ensure that the community is fairly and accurately counted! The national campaign called #YallaCountMeIn has a goal of ensuring that Arab Americans engaging in Get Out the Count (GOTC) efforts in their local communities. This launch corresponds with the National Day of Action hosted by a coalition of civil rights groups who are working to ensure all communities, especially those communities who are designated as Hard to Count by the Census Bureau are counted. With early public outreach and engagement, we believe we can ensure a more accurate count in 2020.

The Census is vital to all communities, including the Arab American community. It is through the Census population count that congressional districts are drawn in each state. It is also how we decide how many Representatives each state gets to have in the House of Representatives. In fact, it is estimated that, Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are estimated to all lose at least seat. Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Montana, and Oregon are expected to gain at least one seat. But the numbers, in both these scenario matter. To ensure your state does not lose a seat or ensure it does gain a seat, we need an accurate count of people living in those states.

It is crucial that the Arab American community gets an accurate count because the 2020 Census is the way that over $800 billion in federal funding is distributed. Whether it’s funding for infrastructure, like the roads we drive on or for social programs like free and reduced lunch for children at schools—the federal funding impacts every aspect of our daily lives. The Census also plays a role in data collection that is useful for community organizations and individuals to advocate for accessibility to members of the Arab American community. These data can be useful in multiple ways, one way is by simply showing how many Arab Americans live in an area for advocacy purposes. Another way is though understanding the growth of Arabic speakers to show the need for Arabic language assistance at the polls or to make the case for it being taught at schools in your area.

We are grateful to the groups who have been engaged with and collaborate on these efforts, and are happy to announce a pledge campaign, social media toolkit and website that can be utilized for future resources and updates on all things related to the Arab American community and the 2020 Census. By using the campaign website, individuals and organizations can engage with materials that will help them connect with people, statewide complete count committees, or other organizations working to GOTC in their state. The social media toolkit can serve as your resource on how to speak about the 2020 Census to Arab American audiences via any platform. But most importantly is the pledge form that we are asking to be shared with Arab Americans and other community members to continue reaching as many members of our community as possible.

So yalla, can we count you in on this national campaign for the 2020 Census?!