Why the 2020 Census is Important

May 07, 2020

Take the 2020 Census

En Español

Dearest Open Signal Producers, Neighbors and Friends:

Following our community-driven media focus on creativity, technology and social change, Open Signal has partnered with the We Count Oregon campaign to become a Census Assistant Center.

Like many other organizations, our ways of supporting you have been affected by the COVID-19; while other in-person services are unavailable, you can reach us at (503) 288-1515 ext. 765, or email us your questions you may have about the 2020 census form to rgonzalez@opensignalpdx.org

We want to bring to your attention that you, your family and our communities count, and that being counted in the 2020 Census directly correlates to political representation and access to resources, especially for the members of our community that are under the “hard to count” category.

These are groups of people who are historically underfunded and marginalized; these include people of color, recent immigrants, children under 5, renters and low-income households, among others. 

We believe in taking the Census because as a result of its data, Oregon will receive about $3,200 per PERSON counted for the next ten years. This means $675 BILLION dollars that directly support programs like Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, Roads, schools, hospitals, unemployment, programs for seniors and veterans. The 2020 Census could also mean another seat in Congress for Oregon, which is another opportunity for our voices to be heard.

Since about a ⅓ of Oregon’s budget comes from federally allocated funds, community organizations and nonprofits like Open Signal are affected by this determination of funding.  

There is a lot of concern regarding the security of the questions and how and which should be filled out in order to be counted. While we recognize that the Census does not encompass representation of all people, you should aim to reply to all questions to the best of your knowledge and ability to be counted.

For more information about the questions that you will find on the census, please visit this link. There are no questions about your immigration status, your financial information or your SSN. It doesn’t matter if you are undocumented or being temporally in the United States as long as you will live in the country for months. 

Your personal information is safe, because the Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code to protect your confidentiality or face severe penalties, like a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Your data will be used to create statistics, and the Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing data identifying individuals from the Census surveys with anyone or any agency for 72 years.

Filling out the 2020 Census means replying to 10 questions and should only take you about 10 minutes. 

When you fill out your census form you will be counting everyone living in your residence as of April 1st (even if not related) for a more in-depth FAQ consult here or reach out to me directly.

It can be done online, by mail (questionnaires have been sent from April 8th, to April 16th) or by the phone  (even though some backlog is expected).

Mail reminders have been sent out to all residencies as of March 12, where your Census ID will be given on the form with instructions on how to fill it out. Even if you do not have access to your Census mailing, it can be filled out online without it.

Being part of the hard-to-count populations myself, I understand the fear and confusion. Do not let that obliterate you. These numbers will help us keep the Government accountable for the services we are entitled to from the taxes we pay. 

Sincerely, your #WeCountOregon ambassadors,

Rebeca Alamo Gonzalez
Census Assistant Liaison
Pronouns: She/her/ella
¡Hablo español!
(503) 288-1515 ext 765

Elisa Barrios
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Pronouns: she/her/ella they/them/elle
¡Hablo español!
(503) 673-8649

Rebeca Alamo Gonzalez Census Assistant Liaison rgonzalez [at] opensignalpdx.org (503) 288-1515 x765

I work with Open Signal's Equity Department and We Count Oregon to educate and support our community about the 2020 Census. As an asylee from Venezuela married into an indigenous Mi’kmaq family, this is a mission I deeply care about, since my family and I fall under the Census’ definition of "hard-to-count populations." 

When I am not furthering We Count Oregon's mission, I exercise my passion for empowering underrepresented and misrepresented communities as a screenwriter and screenplay analyst for WeScreenplay, as well as judging submissions for local film festivals like the Portland International Film Festival and the Portland Film Festival.

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