U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves joined prominent Latino groups, labor and faith leaders and leading national Spanish-language media partners to outline a historic campaign to ensure a full and accurate 2010 Census count of the estimated 50 million Latinos living in the United States. Members of the coalition -- called the ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! (It's Time, Make Yourself Count!) campaign -- previewed a series of public service announcements that will begin airing today on major Spanish language media.
"Ensuring our nation's second largest population group is fully counted is critical to recognizing our nation's diversity and to building future political strength," said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO). "The Census is the single most powerful indicator of who we are as a nation. It not only dictates the story we tell about our demographic makeup, but it also determines the allocation of federal funds and the seats of political power."
The 2000 Census, despite producing a net over-count of the total population, produced an undercount of Latinos of around 3 percent (or one million people), which cost billions in lost federal funding. The ya es hora, !HAGASE CONTAR! campaign will enhance the Bureau's efforts to count Latinos through a sustained and aggressive community education initiative to mobilize hundreds of local organizations. The campaign will also saturate targeted media with the support of Spanish-language partners Univision Communications Inc., Entravision and impreMedia and use the power
of these brands, connections, and networks to inform and motivate the Latino community to participate.
"We have the enormous challenge of convincing everyone in the country to participate in the national count - regardless of race, ethnicity or citizenship status. To reach the Latino community, we are counting on community-based initiatives like ya es hora to partner with us in spreading the word that the 2010 Census is easy, important and safe," said U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves.
"Since the 2000 Census count, we've made enormous strides in building political empowerment of Latinos around the country, and it's critical that we build off of that political consciousness to encourage full participation in the 2010 Census," said Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
"Given the growth of the community since 2000 -- especially in 'swing states' like Arizona and Nevada where results of Congressional reapportionment are being closely watched -- an accurate 2010 count of Latinos could significantly influence politics in 2012 and beyond," Medina continued.
In addition to determining congressional reapportionment and political representation in state legislatures and hundreds of legislative bodies at the local level, the U.S. Census drives the allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funds to communities annually -- including funds for Medicaid, voter protection, SCHIP, childcare, early child education, school lunch, ESL and adult education. It also serves as the fundamental source of information on the nation's demographic makeup, guiding private and public research projects that influence a broad range of social policy decisions.
"Univision has a strong commitment to inform, educate and empower U.S. Hispanics," said Univision Network News-co anchor woman Maria Elena Salinas. "Through the ya es hora partnership, we will continue to leverage our TV, radio and online media to reach and educate Hispanic America about the connection between participation in the Census and achieving full funding and a strong political voice for our communities." Combined, ya es hora media partners Entravision, impreMedia and Univision reach 99 percent of U.S. Latino homes.
The Census phase of the coalition's work builds on the success of the ya es hora Ciudadania! campaign of 2007, in which 1.4 million Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) became U.S. citizens, and the ya es hora Ve y Vota! campaign of 2008, in which more than ten million Latinos exercised their right to vote in the presidential election.
Partners in this phase of the ya es hora campaign include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Entravision Communications, impreMedia, Univision Communications Inc., League of United Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, Dominican American National Roundtable, National Council of La Raza and Service Employees International Union.