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LGBT Communities of Color Unite for the 2010 Census

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For Immediate Release

LGBT Communities of Color Unite for the 2010 Census
“Fear doesn’t count” “El miedo no cuenta.”

May 6, 2010 (Washington DC) — This week, as millions of Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the leaders of America’s top organizations serving our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) diverse ethnic households and people of color speak out about the importance of this year’s Census.

Many within the Latino/a community will rally to the slogan of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) that urges us to be counted by saying: “Fear doesn’t count” — “El miedo no cuenta.”

The groups joining this broad LGBT community appeal include the Latino Equality Alliance, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Immigration Equality, and the International Federation of Black Prides.

Ari Gutiérrez, speaking for the Latino Equality Alliance, said, “We are at a hopeful crossroads to educate America about immigration reform and to encourage the respect of all families, including LGBT families. While we battle lies, misconceptions and anger directed at many ethnic groups and people of color, we cannot remain silent or invisible. The Census is our partner in speaking the truth, and we must all do our part and be included in the count.”

This national appeal is timed with the beginning of the second phase of the 2010 Census, as crucial “door-to-door” visits by Census workers are made to complete Census forms among the 48 million households that have not yet returned their forms. The LGBT leaders emphasize that being counted is safe, private and critical — and that all LGBT families and households should welcome these visits and respond to the questions.

“This is a critical time for the Census to be reaching out in our communities. Despite the heightened state of tension that new laws in Arizona create for immigrants and anyone the state might think ‘looks like an illegal immigrant,’ we need to respond to enumerators and get counted now more than ever,” said Benjamin DeGuzman with the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Earl Fowkes added, “The International Federation of Black Prides strongly urges all members of our community to complete the forms provided by the census takers. The information provided by you is confidential under Federal law, and your cooperation is key to bringing more resources to our community.”

“For LGBT immigrants and their families, the Census provides an important opportunity for two communities that have been undercounted for too long, to be fully represented,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. “Forty-five percent of LGBT binational couples include a Latino/a partner, and it is critical that they, and their households, be a visible part of the Census. We especially encourage the immigrant partner in all binational households to file as ‘Person Number 1,’ in order to ensure that the broad diversity of our community is reported in the final Census count.”

“The census is extremely important for communities of color and immigrants, especially Latinos,” said Matthew Adler of MALDEF. “Often, it is people at the intersection of minority communities, such as LGBT people of color, who are most undercounted and therefore benefit the least from resources allocated by the census.”

Adler continued, “What’s at stake is funding for schools, roads, transportation, and healthcare for the next 10 years, not to mention political representation, which is crucial at a time we are taking on anti-immigrant forces threatening our community. The census is safe and confidential, and as a legal group, we encourage all people regardless of citizenship or immigration status to participate so we all are counted.”

In this next critical phase, here are the top 5 things every person should know when a Census taker comes to your door starting this month:

  • First, responding to the Census is required under federal law, and it is in fact, mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
  • Second, your answers are absolutely private and protected under Federal law. It is illegal for the Census or anyone to share your personal information with anyone else or any other government agency under the penalty of fines and even prison. It is entirely safe to answer.
  • Third, when someone knocks, ask for official Census identification, which a representative will display around their neck in plain view. They can ONLY ask Census questions — these workers will not ask for social security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers. They will not ask for donations and they will not ask how to contact you by email.
  • Fourth, remember when asked for your information by the Census representative at your door, they cannot reveal any personal information about any respondent or household or face penalties up to 5 years in jail and/or $250,000 fine. Your information is yours alone.
  • Fifth, Census takers will visit local homes up to 3 times and make up to 3 phone calls to record information for this year’s Census. If there is no answer, the Census taker leaves a door hanger, featuring a phone number — to allow you to call the number to schedule a visit when most convenient.

For more background generally on the 2010 Census, please also visit www.2010census.gov. Be sure to visitwww.ourfamiliescount.org for details specifically for LGBT households — with questions and answers found there in both English and Spanish.

To stay connected on popular social networks, you may also find Our Families Count on Facebook, and feel free to follow on Twitter, or check out MySpace.

Our Families Count (www.ourfamiliescount.org) is an entirely voluntary public education campaign launched in fall 2009. This campaign represents a collaborative effort by leaders and community organizers across the LGBT and ally spectrum in America. Our partnership website is maintained by Bilerico Media which also is the proud owner and donor of the domain. The campaign has been endorsed by over 140 of the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy and resource organizations, business leaders and academic institutions. While LGBT community leaders and groups will advocate on many public policy issues, this campaign takes no position on specific issues or questions.

For more information on this year’s Census, please visit:

www.census.gov

www.ourfamiliescount.org

www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute

Immigration Equality
Media Contact:
Steve Ralls
sralls@immigrationequality.org
202-347-7007

Our Families Count
Campaign Media Contact:
media@ourfamiliescount.org
Bob Witeck
202-887-0500 ext. 19

To Endorse the Campaign Visit:
www.ourfamiliescount.org/join

 

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