Four leading public officials called upon immigrant and communities of color to fully participate in the upcoming Census 2010. At a joint press conference organized by New York Community Media Alliance, in partnership with New York Immigration Coalition, NYC Census 2010 office and CUNY TV, held at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on Friday, March 19, the officials reminded New York’s diverse ethnic and community media and advocacy groups present that not participating in the Census 2010 will keep many members of their communities invisible at all levels of government and rob them of political power and their share in development funds.
New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez; Commissioner Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs Fatima Shama; New York City Comptroller John C. Liu; New York City Public Advocate Bill di’Blasio and Regional Director U.S. Census Bureau Tony Farthing addressed a packed room of ethnic and community media.
“If you are invisible in this country, you don’t count, you don’t have a voice,” said New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez in her remarks. She said an undercount would adversely impact New York State in terms of federal development dollars. For every person who fails to return the Census form, she said, the State will lose $3,000 per year in federal dollars.
In an effort to give a more complete picture of the importance of immigrants and communities of color to the city and the country, New York City Comptroller John Liu highlighted their political and economic power by pointing out the immense contribution they made to the city economy in 2009 — $215 billion.
“We all understand where the immigrants come from and we also see that when the economy goes down immigrants are scapegoats,” said Liu. Echoing the other speakers, he indicated a proper count would help improve hospitals, housing and schools. “If you don’t get counted, you don’t exist” he said. It takes place every 10 years and it has an impact on the next 10 years.
“We’re all children of immigrants from all over the world,” stated New York City Public Advocate Bill di’Blasio. The laws, society and institutions can be improved through data collected during the Census.” He praised the role ethnic and community media was playing in mobilizing the communities for Census 2010.