The campaign to get Caribbean nationals accurately counted by the U.S. Census in 2010 will kick off officially in New York on June 20, 2008.
“Being visible in America begins and ends with the U.S. Census,” proclaimed CaribID2010 chair Felicia Persaud, in announcing a campaign with widespread support among those of Caribbean descent living in the United States for the Census Bureau to “ finally recognize our existence. “If you don’t get counted, you don’t exist in many important ways.”
'Caribbean Americans and West Indians are forced to choose between checking the box mis-identifying themselves as either African American, Asian American or Hispanic or simply as other.'
‘That simply is unfair and Un-American. Just as others can proudly identify themselves by origin so should we,” said Persaud.
First and foremost will be the need to get legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress, then passed by Congress that will mandate that the new Census form add one word to the identity question on the short form - that word and option is West Indian or Caribbean American.
Sherra Pierre March, of CbeanMedia added, `This CaribID2010 movement is critical to determining the economic futures of our communities. Every year the census data directly affects how more than 300 billion dollars is allocated to communities across the U.S. `These dollars are associated to schooling, healthcare, small business growth, housing, elderly care and so much more. This data is the cornerstone to how we are ultimately viewed as a community – IT IS OUR VOICE. This single step to join the movement, will affect international policies that not only determine the flow of dollars in our communities in the US but also in the Caribbean and throughout the larger Diasporas we are ultimately connected to.
Here's an immediate step for those interested in supporting the initiative:
`So join the CaribID2010 movement, so our voices can be heard - this simple step of registering on www.caribid2010.com and filling out our sample census form will help drive the message to the US Senate that we are to be taken seriously. This is our time…this is the moment of change!`
In light of the fact that a similar attempt by self-identified biracial-americans to obtain their own box on the last census failed, partly due to opposition by civil rights leaders who did not want the "black/African-American" numbers diminished, it will be interesting to see what happens to this initiative. Hopefully, Caribbean-Americans who support it will learn from the mistakes of biracial census category activists and make this category a reality. We have a good two-three years to push this through.
If both the multiracial and the Caribbean-American categories come to life, pre-Obama era civil rights style black/white dichotomy race theorists in America may have their work cut out for them...
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