Census Outreach 101 and What Legal Groups Can Do
Counting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities fully and accurately is critical to a successful census. Lawyers, Bar Associations, and other groups of legal advocates are critical partners in this work. You can help make sure that your community and clients are counted in the 2020 Census! Here are some ways that legal groups can get involved.
✓ Prepare to Respond to Community Questions and Concerns
Know What to Expect
Do you know what to expect for Census 2020? There are a number of changes from the previous Census, such as online format, fewer language resources, and a unique political climate. We need Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander legal groups who work with and are part of our communities to be prepared to assist our communities with Census 2020. Community members will have a host of questions and concerns about Census 2020, such as how to participate and how safe it is to do so. As a Census 2020 advocate, you can help allay safety concerns while promoting the critical importance of participation in securing power and resources for our communities. Once you have educated yourself, share that knowledge with your peers by hosting a training or lunch and learn.
The more you and your legal group know, the more you all can help! Be sure to visit Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s census website, www.countusin2020.org/resources to access the most up-to-date information about Census 2020.
✓ Actively Promote Census
Connect with or Establish a Complete Count Committee
Complete Count Committees (CCCs) are often run by local government officials at the city or county level, and include representatives from a wide range of social, political, and economic sectors, such as churches or other religious groups, service-providers, civil rights organizations, local businesses, unions, and local media. In many states, CCCs have been formed by community groups as well. Connecting with a CCC is a great way to learn where there are gaps in local or state get out the count (GOTC) efforts and how to best fill those gaps with your time and expertise. Contact your local elected officials to ask if a CCC has been established and to find out how to get involved. If your local government has not created a CCC, call your elected official’s office or set up a meeting to share why the census impacts your communities and why their support is vital.
Utilize Communications Opportunities for Census Education
Engage local mainstream and ethnic media in the 2020 Census and distribute census information via your organization’s newsletter, email lists, message boards, and whatever else you use to communicate with your members and clients. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, Whatsapp, and other platforms to share that the census is easy, secure, and vital to your community.
Set Up a Location Where People Can Get Information and Fill Out Their Forms You can set up assistance centers to help community members with their census questions and submitting their census forms. You can assist people at your own organization’s site, or you can work with trusted partners such as public libraries, schools, community centers, and more. Your assistance center can host events to raise awareness about the census, answer questions about the census, provide language assistance, share printed translated resources, and provide tablets or computers with internet access for submitting census forms. Be sure to access translated resources at www.countusin2020.org .
Become a Census Bureau Partner
Census Bureau Partners are census ambassadors that help create awareness about the importance of participating in the census. Census Bureau Partners can engage in a variety of ways – from sharing Census Bureau information and messaging, to hosting a
workshop, to encouraging community members to apply for jobs with the Bureau. To become a Census Bureau Partner, contact the 2020 Census Partnership Program at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your regional census office:
Plan Your Own Outreach Events
Not all educational events have to be large-scale productions. It can be as simple as inviting a few people to your office for a brown bag lunch. You can also incorporate census outreach and education into your existing programming and services, such as clinics, membership meetings, information sessions, classes, and more, by handing out resources or helping people fill out their forms. If you have more time, resources, and capacity, you can build energy and enthusiasm through a larger event and organize a block party, campus event, or a house party.
✓ Help Educate People About Legal Protections
Federal law protects the confidentiality of census responses. Some individuals are unaware of these protections. You can share know-your-rights information and materials with members of the public throughout your census outreach. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, individual responses cannot be shared with the public, other federal agencies, or state and local governments. Data cannot be used for any purposes other than statistical analysis, and data cannot be used to the detriment of respondents.
✓ Help Safeguard Against Census Fraud
Census fraud can be prevented if we work together to monitor for malfeasance and alert advocates immediately. There may be attempts to impersonate census takers, elicit community members’ personal information, leverage their information for personal gain, spread incorrect or misleading information about the census, and other forms of abuse. However, there are communities of advocates available and eager to help prevent bad actors from causing harm.
The Arab American Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and NALEO Educational Fund will operate Census hotlines leading up to and throughout the Census data collection period. If you or someone in your legal group suspects malfeasance, please call one of the census hotlines.
Arab American Institute: (833) 333-6864; (833) 3DD-OUNI ("Count me" in Arabic)
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC: (844) 2020-API or (844) 202-0274. The hotline will be available in English, Mandarin (普通話), Cantonese (廣東話), Korean
(한국어), Vietnamese (tiếng Việt), Tagalog, Urdu (اردو), Hindi (हदं ), and Bengali/Bangla (বাংলা).
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights: 888-Count20
NALEO Educational Fund: 877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3676). The hotline will be available in English, Spanish, Arabic and several Asian languages. The organizations running these hotlines will be able to provide assistance on these issues.