Los Angeles — As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on including a citizenship question in Census 2020, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) today launches Contamos Contigo, a campaign aimed at tallying those hardest to count in some of the hardest-to-count areas of the country.
Congress members Nanette Barragan (CA 44) and Jimmy Gomez (CA 34) were on hand for the announcement, as was Adriana Martinez, Deputy Director for Outreach at the California Complete Count office, and Sandra Huezo, a nurse and CHIRLA member.
As part of the Contamos Contigo campaign, CHIRLA will use its position as a trusted source of information in the Latino and immigrant community to engage Latino residents, immigrants, refugees, and people who are not fluent in English in the year preceding Census 2020. The campaign will target Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley, the High Desert, and Sacramento.
More than $700 billion in federal dollars for healthcare, education, childcare, housing, and highway construction are on the line for this census. Even so, immigrant, Latino, refugee and limited-English communities have a history of being undercounted. Contamos Contigo will work to lift these communities so they can be included in decisions about budgets and electoral districts.
“We begin this campaign, intentionally, on the eve of the Supreme Court’s citizenship question hearing, because we see this racist policy for what it is and we are fighting it, in the courts and in our neighborhoods,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive director. “CHIRLA is a plaintiff in one of three lawsuits brought to put a halt to this proposed policy, and we will be watching the court’s ruling closely. However, we will encourage our community to take part in the census regardless of what the Supreme Court says.”
“Participating in the census is one of the most critical components of our democracy,” Barragan said. “The census is a once-in-a-decade chance to ensure our communities get the funding and representation they need and deserve. While the administration continues its efforts to keep people in our communities from counting, we cannot let fear drive us into the shadows. Thank you to CHIRLA for leading the way in ensuring everyone has a voice and is counted in the upcoming census.”
“Participating in the 2020 Census sends a strong message to President Trump that despite his best efforts, our immigrant communities will not be silenced or forced into the shadows,” Gomez said. “I’d like to thank our friends at CHIRLA for launching Contamos Contigo and for continuing to support our shared mission to ensure representation and respect for all of those who call the United States their home.”
CHIRLA aims to engage more than 2.7 million people with this campaign, using its extensive community education network to hold forums, workshops and demonstrations at schools, library branches, and resource fairs to educate hard-to-count communities about the census.
At a time when the President of the United States makes his hatred of immigrants a matter of policy, targeting these communities for persecution, hatred and exclusion, participating in the census becomes an act of resistance.
“The census is the Constitutional means by which our community ensures its voice, its health and its power, because the count determines everything from electoral districts to federal funding priorities,” Salas said. “Contamos Contigo seeks to guarantee that everyone is counted, and thus that everyone has a voice.”