March 19, 2020: 108 California Groups Call on U.S. Census Bureau to Extend Count Timeline Amidst COVID-19

Below is letter that was sent to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) by 108 California organizations, non-profits, service agencies, and more. The letter urges the USCB to take proactive and long-term measures to protect community members during the COVID-19 outbreak by extending the census count timeline, and more.

This letter was organized by VietRISE and members of the Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET).

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

U.S. Census Bureau

4600 Silver Hill Road

Washington, DC 20233

Re: Protect Our Communities during COVID-19 Outbreak by Postponing and Extending Census Count Timeline

To officials at the U.S. Census Bureau:

We are writing as 108 non-profit groups, service agencies, civic engagement organizations, and more across California who have committed to conducting census outreach in hard to count communities this Census Count 2020. 

As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic.  Many state and local healthcare agencies have directed counties and local municipalities to take all precaution possible to prevent the spread of the disease.  However, the federal government has been slow in response to provide recommendations and safety protocols for local groups that will be conducting census outreach, nor have they provided adequate resources for local response teams to conduct preventative measures including mass and accessible testing, mobile alerts, and more.

During this time, we believe that hundreds of communities across the country will be inaccurately counted and heavily undercounted during this Census count.  For example, college campuses are being shut down across the country and hundreds of thousands of students will be forced to move off campus for the remainder of the academic year.  This alone will result in a massively inaccurate census count for this demographic.

Additionally, we believe it is our responsibility to take safe and considerate precautions for our community members, many of whom are senior residents and those most at risk.  Launching mass canvasses and expecting groups to hold census outreach events in person will expose thousands of people to other thousands of people, increasing the spread of transmission.

We call on the federal government and the U.S. Census Bureau to take action to protect our communities by:

  1. Postponing expected in-person census outreach operations until June 1, 2020, until responsive measures are in place to curb the spread of transmission
  2. Extending the length of time for the country to take the census to at least October 31, 2020
  3. Preparing a support package with additional resources for states, counties, and community organizations to complete a more accurate count

We, the undersigned, are partaking in the following measures to responsibly prevent the spread of infection and protect our communities by:

  1. Suspending all in-person field operations and outreach for the census across California until April 20, 2020
  2. Calling on our congressional representatives to call on the U.S. federal government and Census Bureau to take action to extend the census response timeline

We believe this is an opportunity for the U.S. Census Bureau to strategize with community organizations, who are engaging hard-to-count communities, that are uniquely impacted by other economic and health factors, to create a strong response and outreach strategy during this health crisis. We urge the U.S. Census Bureau to include community organizations in their strategy planning now so that we ensure that every person in the country is counted. If you have any questions, please reach out to Jonathan Paik at jonathan@occet.org

Signed,

Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET)

VietRISE

Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)

Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF)

Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ)

AHRI for Justice

Resilience Orange County

Orange County Congregation Community (OCCCO)

Chispa

Korean Community Services

Korean American Center

Korean American Professional Society (KAPS)

Viet-CARE

California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative

ELEVATE AAPI @ Irvine Valley College

Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC)

OC Autism Foundation 

BPSOS CCA

Hope Community Services

Vietnamese Community of Southern California

Orange County Vietnamese Complete Count Committee

Orange County Cambodian Complete Count Committee

Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation

OC Mobile Home Residents Coalition

Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA)

Asian American Senior Citizens Service Center (AASCSC)

National Asian American Community Foundation (NAACF)

Orange County Equality Coalition

Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAP OC)

Women For: Orange County

The Cambodian Family Community Center 

Network of Myanmar American Association

People’s Homeless Task Force Orange County

Asian Pacific Community Fund of Southern California

People’s Homeless Task Force

Orange County Chinese Cultural Club (OCCCC)

Korean Resource Center

Faith and Community Empowerment (Formerly KCCD)

Center for the Pacific Asian Family

Visual Communications Media

South Asian Network (SAN)

Korean American Coalition Los Angeles

Southland Integrated Services, Inc.

Chinatown Service Center

Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc. (AADAP)

Herald Christian Health Center

Asian Youth Center (AYC)

Khmer Girls in Action

Korean American Special Education Center

United Cambodian Community

Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program

LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics)

Koreatown Youth and Community Center

Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco

Project by Project – Los Angeles

Catalyst San Gabriel Valley Incorporated

Koreatown Youth and Community Center

KIWA (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance)

Pacific Islander Health Partnership

CAUSE (Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment)

Korean American Federation of Los Angeles

Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council

Thai Community Development Center

Korean American Family Services

Pacific Asian Counseling Services

Love in Music

Burmese Community Resettlement Initiative

Filipino Migrant Center

Vision Care Service West

Sacramento Valley Korean-American Community

Anderson Munger Family YMCA

Cambodia Town, Inc.

Korean American Bar Association of Northern California

Together We Will OC

KOWIN

Korean Community Center of East Bay

Korea Daily Times

Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) SF

Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI)

Koreatimes SF

Korean Community Center of East Bay

Asian Refugees United

East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum

Refugee & Immigrant Transitions

Mesu Strategies

Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

San Francisco Latino Parity & Equity Coalition (SFLPEC)

Burma Refugee Families & Newcomers

VietUnity – East Bay

Oasis Legal Services

RBA Creative

SIREN

OCA Sacramento

Pacific Asian Counseling Services

Korean American Coalition

Korean American Federation of Los Angeles

Communities United for Health and Justice

Diversity in Health Training Institute

Hmong Innovating Politics

San Francisco Korean American Community Center

Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment

Visibility Project

Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI)

Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay (VACCEB)

COLORS LGBTQ Youth Counseling Services

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

Latino Equality Alliance

Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

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