By: Viviann Anguiano, Manager of Parent Organizing, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
The recent March for Our Lives youth movement has reminded the country of the critical role of our youth in our political process – and how important intersectionality is in the fight for equity for our communities. Our youth have been long advocating against punitive school discipline measures that contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. This leadership and the role of school ecosystems will be critical to a fair and accurate count in the forthcoming 2020 Census for Latinos.
Cross-sector panelists at the Latino Community Foundation’s Yo Voy a Contar, Y Tú? event last night discussed this exact point. Maria Brenes, Executive Director of Inner City Struggle, discussed the importance of an intergenerational effort whereby youth, as trusted members of their community, deliver the message of the precarious nature of Latino representation in the American political process should we not be counted fairly and accurately in the 2020 Census. As states and cities move forward with lawsuits against the Census Bureau and Commerce Department to remove the citizenship question from the census, youth are well positioned to resist and evoke what is at stake.
Schools, philanthropy, the business sector, and all level of governments have an important role to play in this respect. We need school systems to implement civically and culturally relevant and project-based learning on the census at scale. We need government at all levels to work alongside stakeholders to identify where the need is. We need philanthropy and business to lend their voice to fund and inform these efforts. We need you to help us get counted. Locally, you can ask school district leaders what they are doing to ensure Latino children, who are now 1 of every 2 children born in California, are counted. You can get involved with the Local Update of Census Address Program, without which a fair and accurate count is unlikely, through Mayor Garcetti’s Office.
As youth have continued to model for us, we need to remain persistent to ensure Latinos are fairly and accurately counted on the 2020 Census – determining our political representation, district lines, and resources allocated to our communities.