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Georgia AAPI Census project kicks off

By Karuna Ramachandran
June 2019
Georgia AAPI Census project kicks off

On Saturday May 11, 2019, community members and leaders representing 20 different Asian American ethnic communities gathered at the office of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta in Norcross for the kickoff of the Georgia AAPI Census Complete Count Committee (CCC). The group received a presentation from Luke Anh Nguyen, Census Bureau Data Dissemination Specialist and Tina Khuyen Nguyen, Census Bureau Partnership Specialist, followed by a robust discussion about what is at stake if our communities do not participate in Census 2020. Attendees then participated in a working session where they began developing community engagement plans for now until April 1, 2020.

Why was this happening?
Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in Georgia and yet remain among the most undercounted communities, especially with regards to children, elderly, and multi-family households. Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta (AAAJ-Atlanta) and Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc. (CPACS) formed the Georgia AAPI CCC to bring together the leaders of different Asian American groups who will conduct education and outreach for Census 2020 in their specific ethnic communities, including AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian) communities. The goal of the umbrella CCC is to share resources and create a space for coordinating efforts as we roll out a massive campaign to get out the AAPI count for Census 2020. A fair and accurate count is needed.

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What is the benefit of higher representation in the Census?
Census data is critical for securing over $675 Billion of funding to state and local governments per year over the next decade. This includes funding for health programs, highway planning and construction, and funding for education programs. The Census has a major impact on business, nonprofits, and other sectors, as this data is used by developers and funders to support investments in communities. Also, the Census is constitutionally mandated to ensure fair distribution of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and will be used in local, state and national redistricting. Thus, an accurate count of Asian Americans in Georgia is critical to ensuring that our communities continue to build power and thrive here over the next decade.

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What can we do?
Households can participate in Census 2020 online, over the phone, or via paper survey beginning in March 2020—but will they? Ethnic organizations can help educate their communities about this issue and encourage everyone to be counted!

If you would like more information about Census 2020 or about the Georgia AAPI CCC, please contact Karuna Ramachandran at kramachandran@advancingjustice-atlanta.org.

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More Details, from Gwinnett Community Outreach, volume 25, May 2019:

Why is the Census Important?

Education: Census data influences the distribution of billions of dollars—almost $16 billion for Title I grants that help local educational agencies serve more than 24 million students in low-income families and communities, more than $12 billion for special education grants to states, along with funds for the national school lunch program, Head Start, and grants for improving teacher quality.

Community Resources: Information collected in the census influences the way public officials distribute more than $800 billion in federal funds every year for services like schools, fire departments, hospitals and community health centers.

Health Care: In 2016, Community Health Centers served more than 25 million patients in urban and rural locations. Community Health Centers are often the only source of care available to low-income patients, and are playing an increasingly important role in providing treatment for people caught up in the opioid epidemic.

Jobs: Company executives use census data to identify communities where they might build a factory or office building, or open new stores. Census numbers also guide the distribution of billions of dollars in community development block grants.

Political Representation: If states and communities are not fully counted, that could cost them a lot of political influence and power as well as money and other resources. Your state could lose or gain a member of Congress. Giving up political power could mean losing out on access to all kinds of resources—without a chance to fix the problem for 10 years.


[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for June 2019, not in the print/digital issues.]


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