Updated: May 1, 2022
BY T. E. MCMORROW
Ten years, apparently, was not quite enough time for the U.S. Census Bureau to coordinate its plan to count Spanish-speaking residents on the East End in the 2020 Decennial. However, according to Sandra Dunn, this population segment will be counted.
Dunn is the associate director of the Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island. She is helping spearhead the drive to make sure the Spanish-speaking residents on the East End, no matter what their citizenship status is in the country, are counted in the census, as the U.S. Constitution requires.
The population count of the census determines the distribution of billions of dollars in federal and state money nationwide, as well as an area’s direct representation in both state house, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
The problem that OLA and other advocacy groups on the East End has been grappling with is that the U.S. Census Bureau has not provided long-promised Spanish language brochures and posters, to educate the public about what the census is.
“They are told they are on back order,” Dunn said the U.S. Census Bureau has been telling her for months.
But members of OLA and like-minded organizations, such as the East Hampton Complete Count Committee, have taken matters into their own hands. Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and the Town of Southampton have printed Spanish language posters, which can now be placed in locations where the Latino-American community congregates, such as churches, stores, and clinics. The posters were downloaded from the Census Bureau’s website.
In addition, OLA members have been giving presentations to the community in churches, libraries, and in the organization’s offices on the East End. “Our plan was to keep moving east in our presentations, but that is on hold now due to the coronavirus,” Dunn said Monday, March 16. With or without the help of the Census Bureau, Dunn and her fellow advocates will not be deterred, she said.
This is the second article in an ongoing series in The Independent on the U.S. Census. T. E. McMorrow has worked in three Decennial Censuses and was a field operations supervisor covering a large swath of Manhattan during the 2010 Decennial.
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