The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network (LUPE, Proyecto Azteca, ARISE, START Center, TRLA , Proyecto Libertad, SWU, among others) has been working hard in the past few months to send a clear, consistent message to our Colonia constituents: everyone will be mailed a census form and it’s our responsibility to mail the form back because it’s easy, safe and important.
Now we’ve found out that most Colonia residents will not be receiving anything in the mail. These neighborhoods have been deemed as Update/Enumerate locations meaning that Census Workers will be going door to door to collect census forms. At first glance this may seem like an effective strategy, however there are some major issues that have been overlooked: cultural barriers for the workers who have never been to colonias, general mistrust of government agents, and the simple fact that there aren’t enough Census folks to count hundreds of thousands of colonia residents. Add unfriendly packs of guard dogs to the mix and it’s even more clear that the Census Bureau did not do their homework when coming up with this strategy for our neighborhoods.
Watch Armando Garza of Proyecto Azteca discuss some of these issues in detail:
It comes down to this: had we known about this strategy in the first place, we would have sent the correct message and worked to make sure that colonia residents were comfortable with Census workers knocking on doors. The Network’s main goal is to help the Census get an accurate count of the Valley because we understand how important this is for our community. We’re now working on letting residents know to expect the Census workers and to open their doors to them.
If you need help with your census form or haven’t received your census form, please call 1-866-872-6868. Let’s make sure we’re all counted in the 2010 Census!