Antonio Villaraigosa: Making Every Angeleno Count
Every 10 years, our Constitution requires the federal government to make an accurate count of all of its residents. The data retrieved from the census forms the foundation for the number of representatives we send to Washington from each state, the amount of money our families get for health care, the resources directed toward our schools and classrooms, where we build new roads and how much funding is allocated for emergency food and shelter programs.
With each new decade, the census still manages to miss some of our most vulnerable residents such as young children in low-income homes, people living in large households, recent immigrants and the homeless. In 2000, 78,000 Angelenos went uncounted. Over the past 9 years, our City lost more than $200 million in state and federal funds.Too many Angelenos were left off the rolls and out of the system.
That is why I was excited today to welcome the Los Angeles stop of the 2010 Census Portrait of America Tour. Driving around Los Angeles today is one of the twelve road tour vehicles that will be traveling across the country to engage and educate citizens to fill out and mail in their 10-question census forms when they arrive in mailboxes March 15-17. The tour will travel more than 150,000 miles across the country and it is expected 18 million people will see it making it the largest civic outreach and awareness campaign in U.S. history. To find out if the road tour will be in your neighborhood go to www.2010.census.gov/roadtour .
Here in Los Angeles, we are doing our part by coordinating a citywide grassroots campaign through Complete Count Committees. These committees forge partnerships between government agencies, Neighborhood Councils, faith-based organizations, labor unions, and businesses to leave no stone unturned in our vastly diverse and boundless City. This effort hinges on participation from the bottom up, since people are more likely to hear our message that every person counts loud and clear if it is delivered by a family member, a friend, or a neighbor. This is why we are strategically deploying an army of volunteers to canvass local households in traditionally under-represented areas.
Also, we have a new media campaign that allows people to galvanize their community by linking to our interactive website: www.lacounts2010.org or by following our pages on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and encouraging others to do the same.
The countdown has begun; the census forms will start appearing in mailboxes in exactly seventy days. It is too important to leave anything to chance.This census is in OUR hands, and we need ALL hands on-deck to ensure everyone gets their fair share. Each and every one of us must stand up, be counted, and assume our rightful places in America’s story.