Two Orange County commissioners made a call to action to the Hispanic and Latino communities in an effort to change the statists when it comes to the 2020 U.S. Census.
“Just 1970 is when the census actually started counting Hispanics but what we noticed over the years is traditionally African Americans and Hispanic communities are undercounted,” Mayra Uribe, Orange County Commissioner for District 3 said.
With less than two weeks before the deadline, as of Sep. 18, the 2020 census self-response rate in Orange County was just over 63 percent.
Uribe along with Commissioner Maribel Gómez-Cordero believes the low participation among the Hispanic population is due to misinformation about the questions they will be asked.
“You will not be asked your immigration status, so your citizenship for you or anyone that is accounted for in the household --If you came to this country on vacation as an immigrant and never left, you need to be counted,” Uribe said.
It’s also thought children in minority households are being left out of the census.
“Everyone who lives in the United States in the territory as well, whether they’re a kid or elderly regardless of their immigration status they must be counted,” Yanidsi Vélez the Hispanic Federation of Florida said.
Other factors contributing to a lack of public participation is the pandemic. Orange County government said while people are focused on their jobs, health, and families, they need to be reminded of the importance of responding to the 2020 U.S. census.
“We have seen first hand what this does federally for us. No one would have ever thought we’ve gone through coronavirus but yet we did and we saw how those funds continued to be essential not just for children, for families but for small businesses,” Uribe said.
And in an effort to assist and increase the census self-response rate, locations like the Taft Community Center in Orlando will be available for those who don’t have access to wifi or a computer. Orange County government set up seven computer kiosks inside seven different community centers in the county.
The centers will be open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those needing to visit a census location can visit one of the following sites:
- East Orange Community Center 12050 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
- Hal P. Marston Community Center 3933 W.D. Judge Drive, Suite B, Orlando
- Holden Heights Community Center 1201 20th St. Orlando
- John Bridges Community Center 445 W. 13th St. Apopka
- Maxey Community Center 830 Klondike St. Winter Garden
- Pine Hills Community Center 6408 Jennings Road, Orlando
- Taft Community Center 9450 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando