Op-Ed: We speak census

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By Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020 and Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

The census is for everyone, and this Immigrant Heritage Week, we’re launching a new way for immigrant communities to learn about it! This week, NYC Census 2020 and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs launched two new We Speak NYC educational videos, in partnership with the City University of New York, to explain the importance of participating in the census. 

In a city with more than 200 languages spoken, and where nearly half of our 3.1 million immigrant New Yorkers have limited English proficiency, We Speak NYC, NYC’s English language learning program, is a key resource for New Yorkers to learn about city services, practice their English conversation skills, and build community. So while New Yorkers are gaining new language skills, it’s also a great opportunity to get the facts about the 2020 Census in one fell swoop. 

The new videos emphasize that the census is for everyone and that it’s safe, easy, and vitally important to our communities. The more of us who are counted, the more money and resources our communities receive to provide for us. And importantly, they also highlight that there is no immigration or citizenship question on the census and that responses are completely confidential. 

This new partnership also comes at a crucial time. Immigrant communities have been gravely impacted by COVID-19, but they are also at a high risk of going undercounted. Our hospitals, healthcare, emergency services, and other public services all depend on the census for funding and resources — a complete count could not be more critical for our communities’ health and future. 

Fortunately, this new partnership can help close that gap by speaking directly to immigrant communities and helping to combat the fear and misinformation around the 2020 Census. And most importantly, these videos will give viewers both the facts and the language they need to support a complete count in their own communities.

Remember, the census is about all of us, and the only way we can make sure our city gets what we deserve is by helping to get our families, friends, and neighbors counted. Do your part and let’s make it count!

Making Sense of the Census” is a weekly column from Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020.  Every week we will be publishing pieces from Julie and guest authors laying out the facts and answering tough questions about this year’s census. Fill out the census now at my2020census.gov