Census, Census, Census. It’s so important that I want to bring it to the attention of our Pasifika family. Census equals money. Census equals SNAP. Census equals schools, hospitals, firefighters, public safety, healthcare, and the list goes on.
I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t really thinking too much about the census and its impact on our people until one of our Pasifika sisters, Mrs. Tarseny of Chuuk, asked for help in getting the word out. It was then that I looked further into it and realized how important it was. It was then that I took up this issue and ran with it too.
Since that encounter, we had made three videos on the subject and I was in meetings with different groups working together to get our people signed up and registered so they can be counted. In those groups, I had met passionate Pasifika brothers and sisters that are working tirelessly to ensure that Pasifika peoples are counted.
I found it easy to put together the panelist and conversations on social media surrounding this issue, but it was a challenge when I tried to find ways to put up banners, huge ones, in town to hopefully make people aware and participate. I didn’t know there were strict regulations around signage and stuff, which do make sense so people don’t just litter our town with them.
But I must say, I was thankful to meet a few people in the process who were also very passionate about participation in the census and they were able to help put together a plan for us to hang one of the huge banners. After receiving the banners, I reached out to the city and got hooked up with Hansen and he went to work right away trying to see if there’s a way the city could allow us to hang such a big sign without going through all the different requirements. At the same time, I reached out to the transit job site administrator and was able to get a response back from the job site manager himself, Mr. Jefferson Rose.
I gotta tell you, I was very impressed with Mr. Rose and the way he went about doing his business. I was thankful he was in the position to help me get the word out to the public and help drive our numbers up here in town. Mr. Rose was very helpful in contacting their attorneys to figure out a way for us to hang up this huge sign at the Federal Way Sound Transit job site without breaking any laws or ordinance. Once we got the go ahead, he informed me and we met and hung up the banner which now can be seen walking or driving on 320th and from the Mall. Hopefully people would respond to the call and participate in the census. .
The Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington (PICAWA) is also very active in getting the word out. Our Executive Director, Mr. Joseph Seia, is a result driven down to earth kinda islander you know and his leadership and dedication to this cause deserve humongous kudos from me. He ordered all sorts of goodies, informational flyers, etc. in all different languages, including Chuukese, Samoan, Chamorro and others to be given out to our Pasifika communities to hopefully steer them to sign up and be counted.
The end of the 2020 Census is coming up fast, so this has to be our priority to get the last push out and have our people be counted. Let me continue this post by posing and answering a couple of very common questions you may have regarding the census.
I am not a U.S citizen, why filling out the census?
Well, everything! Let me explain three main topics here, FUNDING, FAIR REPRESENTATION AND OUR FUTURE. See, congress appropriate funds (money) based on the data they get from the census. Money that is used on roads, hospitals, public safety, health, education, etc… According to the Office of Management (OFM), the state of Washington got $16.7 billion in federal funds in 2016. That’s $2,319 per Washingtonian that was counted in the 2010 census. It could be more if all of the residents or people living in Washington state are counted. Of all that money, $8.5 billion was for health programs, $2.4 billion to education, $1 billion for transportation planning and construction, and $0.5 billion for rural assistance. See, this is the reason it’s very important that we, my dear Pasifika brothers and sisters, be counted.
The census or population count is also used to draw boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts, not to mention the boundaries for representation of the congressional seats. The number of congressional seats from each state is also based on the census. So, if you want fair representation, then I believe we must make sure to be counted.
Last but not the least, is the FUTURE. Planning for schools, hospitals, even businesses is also based on the census. More schools, hospitals or businesses can be built if the census data show there’s a need to. And that can lead to more services and more jobs to address the needs of the population. Wondered how Amazon picks location of its warehouses? They look at populated areas and one of the resources they use to make their planning is the data from the census.
Let me loop back again and talk about the funding. Washington state created what we now know as the COFA Islander Healthcare. This is to address the needs of the COFA citizens residing in the state. I believe we owe it to ourselves and to our state of Washington at least to be counted in the census so the state of Washington can get its fair share. I am sure all COFA citizens residing here can agree on this very important point.
So again, please click one of the buttons provided below and go fill out your form today and BE COUNTED!