We are living in uncertain times. The onset of COVID-19 has placed the world at a standstill and has reminded all of us that we are more interconnected than we thought.
During this era of “shelter-in-place,” Latino small-businesses are continuing to do what they do best: provide the community with critical goods and services, create jobs, and keep our economy going. From the grocery stores in the Central Valley to the laundromats in the Inland Empire, Latino small-business owners are keeping all Californians fed, comforted, and balanced.
They are also serving as ambassadors for the 2020 Census count, an important process that will ensure our state receives its fair share of money and political power for the next decade.
What is the Census?
The census is a decennial American tradition that counts all people living in the United States. From this count, we all secure our right to political representation and federal resources for the very hospitals and clinics we are relying on today. Because Californians counted in the 2010 Census, we secured 53 members of Congress and over $115 billion in federal resources.
Why Does the Census Matter to Latino Small-Business Owners in the age of COVID-19?
For Latino small-business owners, encouraging your customers and employees to participate in the 2020 Census has become a way to ensure we come out of the COVID-19 public health crisis as strong as possible, and help your business stay afloat. Here’s why:
1. Unemployment Insurance Funds: In FY 2016, census data directly informed the allocation of $375 million in California to help cover unemployment insurance claims. For thousands of workers who have been laid off across the state, income claimed from their unemployment insurance is the only monetary source keeping their families afloat. Families are using these funds to continue purchasing the essential goods and services they need to survive. When you leverage your business platform to ensure everyone gets counted in the 2020 Census, you are ensuring that the fair share of funds are allocated to critical programs like unemployment insurance.
2. Workforce Development Funds: When your small-business may have seen a sudden growth in demand for your goods and services, it’s programs from the Wagner-Peyser Act or the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that help your business recruit workers and provide job training to help meet your specific needs. California received over $200M to cover these services by merely us counting in the last census.
3. Representation for Small Business Interests: And when Congress is currently passing historic bills to keep the American economy strong, especially including provisions for small-business owners, counting in the census helps ensure that we have the greatest number of votes possible to pass these bills of interest. We should expect to see similar bills that assist small-business owners over the next couple of years. By us counting in the census, we ensure we have the loudest voice in Congress for bills relating to small-business owners. Why? Because we are the most populous state.
How Can I Get Involved?
With over 800,000 Latino small businesses across the state, who employ more than half a million people, these are the places that prime for achieving a fair and accurate count of Latinos in the state. Sign-up and tell us how you would like to get involved or follow these 3 easy actions to promote the census!
1. EMAIL BLAST: Use this language to send an email or newsletter to your employees and customers. Let them know it is safe and easy to complete the census, all answers are confidential, and citizenship status won’t be asked.
3. USE FREE RESOURCES TO ELEVATE YOUR PRODUCTS: Many of us are leading our work remotely or at limited capacity. Use the free resources and collateral that Census Partners can provide you to include a reminder in all of your products. Refer to this resource for business examples of census promotion in light of COVID-19.
And don’t forget, you too must be filling out the census! Do so online at my2020census.gov, by phone at 1-844-330-2020(English) 1-844-468-2020 (Español), or by mail (paper questionnaires coming mid-April.)
(Photography from TortaMovil)