Bureau Conference Room at the City of Houston this past Tuesday was brimming with the leadership from the local South-Asian and Muslim Community, as they got together with Mayor Anise Parker for the Houston South Asian Community Census 2010 Kick-Off Meeting. The event was arranged by Outreach Strategists with the help of Staff Members of Census Bureau, Texas.
Mayor Anise Parker and members of the South Asians Matter Coalition led this Census 2010 Kick-Off event today at City Hall. The event marks the beginning of a joint campaign amongst Houstonâ€™s South Asian community to raise awareness for the 2010 Census.
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States. Mayor Parker reminded the group that the Census informs critical decisions from congressional representation to the allocation of more than $400 billion annually in federal funds and helps governments make decisions about what community services to provide.
â€œIt is very important to the City of Houston that we have a complete and accurate count for the 2010 Census,â€ noted Mayor Parker. â€œAmong other things a complete Census count in Houston will aid in the creation of two new Houston City Council Districts.â€
Former Councilmember M.J. Khan pointed out that the City loses an estimated $1,700 per person per year for everyone not counted. â€œEach of you here today has an opportunity to reach out to their networks and raise awareness so that South Asians are counted correctly.â€
Judge Ravi Sandill also presented information to the group and touched on the confidentiality issues surrounding the Census, â€œBy law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondentsâ€™ answers with anyone including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.â€
South Asian Community Organizer, Mustafa Tameez stated that, â€œIn past years, South Asians have been undercounted. This year we must work to make sure that all South Asians fill out their Census forms to ensure that our community receives access to programs to better our communities.â€
Guests received outreach materials, brochures, and posters translated into Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Tamil to display at local businesses and community centers.
Language barriers often contribute to the undercount of many non-English speaking non-residents. The Census Bureau has established Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) to assist those unable to read or understand the form. Information about the in-language 2010 Census form can be found at: http://2010.census.gov/partners/materials/inlanguage.php
The 2010 Census form will be one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete.
Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide. Partnerships with for-profit and non-profit organizations and government entities are vital to raising awareness of and increasing participation in this historic event.
For more information, one can also call Outreach Strategists at 713-247-9600.