April 01, 2019

Asian Pacific American Complete Count Committee Announces One-Year Countdown to 2020 Census And Its Importance to Communities

Flushing, NY — The Asian Pacific American Complete Count Committee (APA CCC), led by Chhaya Community Development Corporation and the MinKwon Center for Community Action, hosted a community rally and press conference today to begin the one-year countdown to the 2020 Census as part of a statewide Census Day of Action, along with the Queens Public Library, NY state and local elected officials, and other community-based organizations across the City. The 2020 Census will be officially launched on April 1, 2020, and community leaders generated awareness by speaking on the importance of participating in the 2020 Census and how the Census impacts and benefits communities, especially hard-to-count immigrant communities and communities of color. At the event, APA CCC launched its multi-language pledge-card campaign for New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 Census, as part of its local census outreach efforts to ensure an accurate and complete count for all residents.


“Ten years ago, the district I represent had one of the highest response rates in Queens. This was because of the hard work by groups like The MinKwon Center reaching out to underrepresented communities. That is why I fought for $20 million in our budget to ensure everyone is counted,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “Today I am proud to announce I have joined the lawsuit, filed with the US Supreme Court, to fight the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. I want to commend the launch of the APA Complete Count Committee and urge everyone to participate. The purpose of the Census is to properly gather comprehensive information about our neighborhood so we can better serve and protect and the rights of our diverse communities. As the former district manager for Northeast Queens’ Bureau of the Census, I can assure everyone that their privacy is considered sacred and is protected.”


“The importance of education and outreach cannot be understated as we work towards preventing a Census undercount that could have a damaging impact on communities across the state. From working with advocates on the ground to my colleagues in government, I am proud of and encouraged by our efforts to secure $20 million dollars in this year’s state budget to ensure every individual is counted,” said State Assembly Member Nily Rozic, Chair of the Office of State-Federal Relations.


State Assembly Member Ron Kim said, "New Yorkers pay far more than they receive at the federal level, and in one year the completion of the 2020 Census will decide whether we allow the disparity in funding and representation to continue or fight to successfully end it. The APA Complete Count Committee represents an exemplary effort by local community groups and leaders to ensure every single member of our community is counted, and that language, cultural, and institutional barriers do not get in the way of a full and complete count -- especially when it comes to our state's Asian Pacific American community. I thank the APA CCC's organizers, including the Minkwon Center for Community Action, the Queens Public Library, and their many partners for taking the lead in this crucial endeavor and fighting on behalf of our community."


State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou said: “The results of the 2020 census affect our government in many ways such as reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and federal funding for programs like social services, housing, education, or transportation. Every New Yorker counts and we must ensure that we obtain a fair and accurate count of the diverse population we have in the state. Community based organizations will have a huge impact in providing language accessible and culturally sensitive outreach in hard to count communities like Asian-Americans or other immigrant communities. Thank you to the APA CCC in their efforts to generate early awareness for the 2020 Census and highlighting its importance to our communities.”

City Council Member Peter Koo stated, “An accurate census helps to ensure that the rights and needs of every person are recorded and considered when government shapes public policies, programs, and services. Far too many times in the past, immigrants, children, people of color, and low-income individuals have not been counted and, as a result, have not been fully nor fairly served. We need to make sure everyone is counted and our community is represented, and I thank all our partners in advocating for a full count for Census 2020.”

“A Census undercount is something Queens simply cannot afford,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “For each person and each household unaccounted for, that’s less federal funding for our schools, our hospitals and our infrastructure and less representation for us in Congress. That’s why we’re raising awareness now, one year before the official date of the 2020 Census, about the importance being counted.”


"As we kick-off the one-year countdown to the 2020 Census, the APA Complete Count Committee and affiliates of New York Counts 2020 urge everyone to talk to your families, neighbors, and communities about the importance of participating in the Census,” said John Park, Executive Director at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. We also urge the Governor and NYS to invest the full $40 million necessary for community based organizations to have a successful Census. Getting a complete count touches all areas of our lives including healthcare, financial aid, school lunch programs, transportation, and the political strength of our voice. All New Yorkers count, and we need everyone to participate in the 2020 Census to ensure we do."


“Chhaya CDC and our partners in the APA Complete Count Committee are cognizant of the tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in one year’s time to make sure Asian American communities are fully counted and allocated their fair share of resources,” said William Spivak, Director of Programs at Chhaya CDC. In addition, census 2020 presents a number of unique challenges from being drastically underfunded to the damaging effects the of the attempt to include a citizenship question. Nevertheless, Chhaya and the APA CCC will work tirelessly to ensure our communities are informed, engaged, and counted in 2020.

“As the center of our communities and given the Census Bureau’s emphasis on completing the 2020 Census online, New York City’s public libraries will be vital to educating people about the importance of being counted and providing secure technology and space to complete the forms,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “As we move forward, we will rely on partnerships with the MinKwon Center for Community Action and other members of the New York APA CCC to help make sure that as many people as possible complete the census.”

Narbada Chhetri, Director of Organizing and Programs at Adhikaar, stated: “The upcoming Census is a unique and opportune moment for us. Adhikaar is the only women-led worker and community center serving and organizing the Nepali-speaking refugee and immigrant community. As Asian Americans are the fastest growing communities in the United States, there is a disconnect in the way data is collected -- we are diverse and our needs are incredibly diverse as well. The Nepali-speaking community is rapidly growing as well, but we have been historically under counted for decades. Even within our community, those with limited English proficiency, those with low incomes and young children are under counted. Now is the time to make sure that we are counted. Now is the time to make sure that we are visible. For too long we have been doing this work, underfunded, but we never stopped because the community needed us, and continues to need us. We know that Census data determines so much, how our districts are set up, how we are funded and resourced. We are a proud member of APA CCC and ready to unite with all our Asian American partners to make sure we are counted this 2020 Census."

"April 1st marks the one year countdown to Census 2020. New York has 365 days to remind every person in our state of their civic responsibility to come together to get counted, a task that would be impossible without the committed partnership and coordination of community-based organizations and elected leadership here in Queens," said Mitchel Wu, Director of Queens Community Services at the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. "Ten years ago, Queens's population was counted as the slowest growing borough, despite a growing number of homes and apartments. The risk of redistricting and loss of representation cannot be understated for 2020. CPC is proud to kick off today's Census countdown. Between 2000 and 2010, Asian Americans were the fastest growing racial group in the nation. However, without without a fair count, APA communities will continue to struggle for a voice in decision-making. CPC is proud to stand with the APA Complete Count Committee and join the fight for a complete count."   

"Our communities have to realize how far-reaching the impact is from the Census data,” said Mary Archana Fernandez, Director of Family Support Services at South Asian Council for Social Services. “It determines how congressional seats are allocated and how federal monies are distributed. Let us make sure our communities are counted accurately. We should not lose a single person in the final count!”

“At the YMCA, we are focused on strengthening communities by supporting New Yorkers with the programs and services they need to thrive. Making sure that our city and our citizens have the resources they need starts with the census. It starts with every New Yorker being counted,” said Sharon Greenberger, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “Today marks one year from the commencement of the 2020 Census and the YMCA is proud to stand alongside our partners who are dedicated to raising awareness about the census and counting every New Yorker. We must ALL be counted.”


Howard Shih, Research and Policy Director at Asian American Federation, said: “The Census Bureau's own research reveals that Asian Americans are the least likely among all major race and ethnic groups to respond to the Census. They also have the most concerns that the information they submit will be used against them. Even more worrying, the administration's attempts to add the citizenship question to the census has increased the fear and distrust of the Census process in the Asian immigrant community. Thus, it becomes even more critical to educate our communities that the Census is the only source of public data that allows us to have a complete picture of Asian American communities. Without this data these communities will go unseen and uncounted and will be in danger of losing funding for English language classes, immigration services, schools, health care, and so many other lifeline services that the community so desperately needs.”


“Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is determined to work diligently with our allies in the APA community and government to ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census,” said Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, Co-Executive Directors at AAFE. “Asian American communities continue to be under-represented, under-funded and, all too often, overlooked. It is imperative for all of us to go above-and-beyond in ‘hard to count’ communities across New York City. AAFE intends to mobilize the 20,000 community members who access our services annually, and to stand in solidarity with diverse groups citywide in order to assure a complete and fair 2020 Census.”


"Everyone counts and ensuring an accurate 2020 Census will secure critical services from education for our children, housing for our seniors, and healthcare for our neighbors to assistance for small business owners," stated John Choe, Executive Director at the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. "An undercount could jeopardize our City's share of $800 billion dollars in federal funding. We must do everything we can to be counted and heard."

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