Minority Census Social promotes participation

The event, sponsored by multicultural groups, aimed for census education.

Monday's Minority Census Social hosted by Four Front and numerous multicultural organizations discussed the importance of minority groups completing the census form.

The social was held in Stotler Lounge, and guests were encouraged to grab a plate of food while listening to a series of census-related announcements and speeches. At the end of the event, a member of MU's Hispanic American Leadership Organization performed a Colombian dance for the crowd.

Sponsors present at the social included MU's Asian-interest sorority Alpha Phi Gamma, HALO, the South Asian Student Association, the Filipino Student Association, the Asian American Association and Missouri Students Association Multicultural Issues Committee.

Speakers from the Census Bureau were also in attendance to answer questions and encourage students to pass on the message to family and friends that minority participation is crucial.

Census Bureau Assistant Regional Manager Craig Best said the event was important because it brought people together to spread the positive message of census participation.

Best said he wants to pass on the word that everybody counts.

"Historically we undercount minorities," Best said. "It's important that we get the count right. If you don't get it right you live with an incorrect count for 10 years."

Annually, $400 billion is allocated across the country based on census results, so it's important for minority groups to let the government know they're out there, Best said.

Sophomore Alvin Duong said the event was beneficial because it communicated the message that undercounting of minority groups should not be the norm.

"As a group we want to make a stand," Duong said. "We want to make sure that there are more Asians and minorities accounted for than in 2000."

Four Front Co-Chairwoman Yantézia Patrick said the census was important to her because it helps acknowledge the diversity in the Columbia area.

Patrick said the event was also important for Columbia in particular because the upcoming redistricting in the state of Missouri will depend on census results.

Sophomore Lakeisha Williams said the main goal for minorities to fill out their census forms should be better representation.

"There's no guarantee that filling out the census is going to make things better for minorities but at least you're doing your part," Williams said. "Columbia is redistricting so it's important to not get jaded lines."

Census Bureau worker Alonzo Surrette said the census results are key in showcasing the more specific aspects of diversity in the country.

Surrette said it is important people specify their race and ethnicity because the census is there to represent everyone. "Everyone in this country deserves to be respected for who they are," Surrette said.

This year's census is the 23rd in American history. The census is the largest non-military task the government undertakes and the largest mobilization of workers in the country, Best said.

Surrette said students living in apartments should have already received a census form and those living in residence halls should expect to receive forms after spring break. He said the form should be filled out according to the student's place of residence, and they should not be accounted for back home.

AAA President Kha Ly said he hoped the event would successfully help spread the message of the census' importance to minority communities.

"The government needs to know we're here," Ly said.

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