Caribbean Business Group Rallies Support For Census

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[US Census 2010]

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Mathieu Eugene; Bruce Williams, Office Manager LCO 223, US Census Bureau; Dr. Waldaba Stewart, NYS/CACCI Census 2010 Project Director; Mary Bishop, Special Assistant to  Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Gina Cheron, Executive Board Member of the Consortium for Haitian Empowerment; representatives of Eglise du Nazareen Libre; and an array of CACCI community partners, joined Dr. Roy Hastick, Sr., President/CEO of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc (CACCI), in a Census 2010 March to the Mailbox on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at the Flatbush Caton Market Court Yard, 814 Flatbush Ave, corner of Caton Ave, Brooklyn, NY. 

In a symbolic March to the Mailbox to mail in completed census forms, Borough President Marty Markowitz urged Brooklynites to fill out the form and mail it in so that the borough and state can get drastically needed resources. Markowitz said the ten minutes it takes to fill out the form will result in many benefits for Brooklyn communities, including funding for better schools, healthcare, jobs programs, senior services and other programs.  Not filling out the form, however, can lead to losses in funding and be costly to the community.

Low response rates throughout Brooklyn communities have caused concern among elected officials and community leaders.  Some of the lowest responding areas have been identified as those with a predominant Caribbean and, or, immigrant population. 

Councilmember Mathieu Eugene said that if Flatbush and other residents have not yet mailed back the form they should do so now.  He urged residents to "include everyone in your household, and when you are finished with your form, remind your neighbor to mail in theirs and call a friend or two and remind them as well."
Addressing common misconceptions and distrust about how census information will be used CACCI President and CEO, Dr. Roy Hastick said "There is nothing to fear from filling out the census. The information will not be shared with any other government agency - not Immigration, not Homeland Security, no one. To do so is illegal and can result in a fine, imprisonment or both."
Hastick and other march participants issued a call to the community to get mobilized and take personal responsibility for getting all within their family and friendship networks registered before the April 15 mail-in deadline.  Participants recommended the use of every available means of communication to get the word out to friends and neighbors that they must fill out the form.

"We are urging everyone in the community to use their e-mail, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter accounts to get the message out to other Brooklynites that they must fill out the census and mail in the forms," said Hastick.       

Dr. Waldaba Stewart, Project Director for CACCI's Census 2010 efforts added, "Right now Brooklyn is far behind and unless we can correct that we will most certainly lose out on hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in resources." 

CACCI's March to the Mailbox with Borough President Markowitz was one of a series of CACCI outreach and mobilization activities targeted to hard to count neighborhoods over the weekend. Working with the U.S. Census, NYS and NYC Census Bureaus, CACCI's targeted outreach activities included a motorcade float with a DJ and entertainment.  The float traveled to areas where census response rates have been especially low, including Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Canarsie, Crown Heights and Brownsville.  Brooklyn's current response rate is 42%, while Manhattan leads with 54%, Bronx County with 50 percent, Queens County - 47 percent and Richmond County - 52 percent.  Only 48% of the City has returned census forms versus 62% nationwide.  Caribbean, African-American and immigrant communities have been especially slow to respond. 
Working in partnership with the New York State Census 2010 Initiative and over 50 civic and faith-based community organizations, CACCI has targeted the English, Spanish and French/Creole-speaking communities in Caribbean/Latino/and African immigrant communities of Brooklyn. CACCI Census 2010 targeted outreach and mobilization efforts include a series of Census education forums, door-to-door literature distribution, presentations at cultural, religious, civic and educational organizations, as well as bilingual translation and hand-on assistance filling out census forms, 7 days a week (M-F: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m; and Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at CACCI's Census location in the Flatbush Caton Market.

For further information on the NYS/CACCI Census 2010 Outreach and Mobilization Initiative and assistance with Census questions, call the CACCI Census Office (718) 287-1870 or CACCI (718) 834-4544. 

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