A weeklong effort by the YMCA-LA is aiming to counter the lagging rate of participation in the 2020 Census in Boyle Heights, by providing assistance and a safe environment for people to participate in the decennial count.

Beginning Monday and through Friday, Aug. 14, the organization will leverage its COVID-19 relief efforts to reach out to undercounted communities such as Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. All week, members of the organization’s Census Youth Ambassadors Program will be at the Weingart East LA YMCA branch in Boyle Heights, with tablets, computers, wifi, and other resources for people to complete the Census.

Census participation numbers are much lower in so-called hard-to-count communities than other more affluent areas, mainly due to fear that personal information and status will be used against them. For many of these households, teens are trusted to interpret information and guide families through important decisions. 

Launched earlier this year, the YMCA-LA’s 500-strong Census Youth Ambassadors Program  recruited and trained youth volunteers to assist with census education and outreach. In Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, dozens of mostly Latino teens were trained to counter some of the arguments against Census participation and myths about interference from immigration and other authorities. 

The youth ambassadors hope to dispel “fake information” and provide a trusted and safe environment for people to complete census forms and be counted, to make sure their cities and neighborhoods get the resources they need. 

At the Weingart East LA YMCA, volunteers will hand out free face masks on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who complete the census throughout the week. On Friday, various area elected officials will gather for a press conference at 10 am followed by a backpack giveaway at 11 am.  To get a backpack and supplies, people must bring proof of having filled out the Census or fill it on-site.

Census Action Week outreach will take place from 11 am to 2 pm at:

Weingart East LA YMCA  

2900 Whittier Blvd

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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