Several Boyle Heights organizations will join a 15-vehicle caravan on Wednesday, to mark a National Census Action Day and encourage participation in what is considered one of the hardest-to-count communities in the country.
Organized by We Count LA, the caravan will take off from Self Help Graphics (1300 E 1st St, Los Angeles) at 11:30 a.m. and drive East through neighborhood streets, to remind residents to fill out 2020 Census forms, if they haven’t yet done so.
With over 10.4 million residents, Los Angeles County is considered the hardest-to-count county in the United States. According to a May 18 report by the Advancement Project, all Census tracts in Boyle Heights have an estimated participation rate of less than 50% – with some as low as 33%.
The data collected during the Census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities that impact access to health care services, education, housing, nutritional programs and more.
Some of the organizations joining the caravan have launched individual campaigns to encourage their clients and/or audiences to overcome fear, mistrust and lack of information that may prevent them from participating in the Census. Many have trained their employees to offer Census information and help area residents fill out forms.
“In California, we receive an estimated $115 billion a year, about $2,000 per person, for public programs such as Medi-Cal, education, housing, SNAP and more,” said Jennie Carreón, associate vice president of civic engagement at AltaMed Health Services – the nation’s largest federally qualified community health center – in a release.
As a civically engaged health care organization, AltaMed’s “My Vote, My Health,” or “Mi Voto, Mi Salud” campaign aims to inform, empower and mobilize its patients and employees to protect access to their health care through the power of their vote and census participation.
“There’s too much at-stake for the next decade if we neglect community members in the hardest-to-reach areas in the 2020 Census count,” Carreón stressed.
Besides Self Help Graphics and AltaMed, organizations joining the caravan include such diverse service providers as Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission, Promesa Boyle Heights, Clínica Romero, Alma Family Services, Innercity Struggle, Latino Equality Alliance, and Legacy LA.
The public is encouraged to complete their census form by visiting: www.2020Census.gov.