MAFS held a Census 2020 workshop on July 2nd, 2020 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM at its Naperville center to discuss the importance of CENSUS 2020 with the South Asian community of Chicagoland and to encourage them to get counted. The session was conducted via Zoom by Mrs. Kumar, executive director of MAFS. The esteemed panelists for the workshop included a representative from the office of U.S Congressman Danny K Davis; Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi; Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza; Ex-Mayor of Naperville Steve Chirico; Mayor of Hanover Park Rodney Craig; State Representative Michelle Mussman; State Representative Diana Pappas; US Census Bureau Theresa Le; Census2020 Liaison for Naperville Mark Rice; MEATF Chairman Martino Tangkar; American Multi-Ethnic Coalition (AMEC)President – Dr. Vijay Prabhakar; Indian American Business Coalition Secretary Ravi Govindaraj and Representative of Telegu Community Vasavi Chakka.
The event started with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy’s powerful message about the importance of being counted in the Census. He made a statement that we lose $ 1,800.00 yearly for every person not counted which made quite an impact on the audience. Thereafter, the illustrious panelists addressed the gathering one by one stressing the importance of Census 2020 in their unique way. Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza made a very valid point when she said that the census is even more important for the immigrant families who go through many struggles trying to adjust to life here in the United States. She said being counted is a golden chance for all of them to avail greater facilities and services that every immigrant is rightfully entitled to. Her point of view highly resonated with the audience most of whom were immigrants themselves. State Representative Michelle Mussman’s speech stirred the emotions of the audience when she said, “If we truly consider Illinois our home, then we must take steps to make it better and beautiful.” One such step that we can take right away is filling out the Census. Indian American Business Coalition Secretary Ravi Govindaraj informed the audience about the presence of an astounding number of around 500,000 Indians who are H1 visa holders. He shared a valuable insight that despite being legal immigrants many of them are scared to register for the census as it may reveal their immigration status. Mrs. Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, assured the community that the Census 2020 guarantees a great deal of safeguard protection of each family’s information which makes it safe for undocumented immigrants. She reiterated that the Census does not ask for any citizenship question or proof of citizenship and added that every Indian American needs to be seen, heard, and, more importantly, be counted.
Throughout the workshop, there was an emphasis laid out on the power of numbers and how it can effectively be tied to the quality of life issues through greater funding from the federal government. Greater representation meant better schools, parks, transportation, hospitals, public works, and other vital programs. The audience listened to all the speakers very intently. Their speeches were brief and relevant with valuable insights and some hard-hitting data that urged the South Asian community to act and register for the census. The workshop was very successful and achieved its purpose of inculcating the importance of census 2020 and how it represents an outstanding opportunity in a decade to be counted to enjoy a better quality of life.
MAFS is very grateful to all the attendees for their support to spread the importance of CENSUS 2020.