Updated: March 28, 2020 06:19 PM
Created: March 28, 2020 05:35 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Coronavirus is leaving an impact on national census operations, so some community advocates are shifting their strategy in order to increase the number of community members who respond to the census.
Kay Bounkeua is the executive director at the New Mexico Asian Family Center.
“Asian population here in New Mexico is highly immigrant, right, and so with that come factors such as limited English proficiency, mistrust in government, cultural and lack of cultural access, so we at Asian Family Center have been working really hard to make sure there's a strong language access plan so that all our outreach that's occurring all the other counties that are also participation, right? Making sure that they're just accessible in terms of what they're doing for census 2020 for different populations,” Bounkeua said.
Before COVID-19 came to New Mexico, Bounkeuna said they were planning on hosting more community events increase responsiveness because turnout among community member was already low. Now, COVID-19 orders across the country are delaying the nationwide count.
“We are getting nervous because there's so much happening around community gatherings. There's a lot of talk around social distancing. All of that is important, but in addition we still need to get the word out that census is happening,” Bounkeuna said.
Advocates are beginning to utilize social media, phone banking, and sending translated materials to community leaders via text, email and mailers.
“I think it's really important for our community, Asian Pacific islanders, to really get excited about the census, right, because this is a way we can show for New Mexico and the entire nation that an Asian Pacific islander community exists within our state that we matter,” Bounkeuna said. “That we should be counted, that our voices should be heard, and our need should be also serviced too.”
According to the latest numbers, 23% of New Mexico residents have responded to the census and 31.6% have responded nationwide.
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