Press Conference: Count Me In! Senator Espada Encourages All to Turn in Census Forms

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With Census Day (April 1) less than one week away, State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. and a crowd of Bronx clergy, community and business leaders and residents – including families, children and senior citizens – take Census 2010 to the streets, holding a press conference and chanting “Count Me In!” as they mail their Census questionnaires at the Post Office, then fan out into the neighborhood to distribute flyers and explain to borough residents the importance of participating in this year’s Census count.

Immediately following the press conference and mailing of the Census questionnaires, Sen. Espada and the crowd of residents and community, clergy and business leaders will fan out into the neighborhood, distributing flyers on the importance of Census 2010 and encouraging fellow residents to mail their Census questionnaires.

“We want to demonstrate how easy it is to complete a Census questionnaire and dispel fears and anxieties particularly among our immigrant populations. Participants will not be asked about their citizenship status and, by law, the privacy of all Census participants must be protected. Census information cannot be shared with any legal or government agency,” Senator Espada said.

“There is a direct connection between accurate Census data and the future of our neighborhoods in terms of the distribution of federal and state funds. It is critical that everyone is counted not only in the 33rd district and not only in the Bronx, but throughout the five boroughs and across the state, because Census data dictates the level of services our neighborhoods receive in terms of education, senior citizen, transportation and health care – where schools, day care centers, hospitals and senior centers are built – as well as essential services like police and fire. This campaign to get everyone counted in Census 2010 must be a partnership involving clergy, community, business and government leaders,” Senator Espada said.

To insure that residents in the Bronx and throughout the state receive their fair share, Senator Espada said the participation level must be higher than in the 2000 Census, when only 6 of 10 New Yorkers statewide returned a questionnaire, below the national average. An estimated quarter million New Yorkers were not counted, resulting in the state’s loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. “In these difficult economic times, we cannot afford to lose this funding. Stand up and be counted,” he said.

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