‘We are designing the future’: Huntsville Hispanic-Latino Advisory Council stresses importance of 2020 Census
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The Hispanic-Latino Advisory Council in Huntsville is continuing to spread the importance of participating in the 2020 Census throughout Hispanic communities in North Alabama, despite new challenges due to coronavirus.

Ramon Santiago, head of the Huntsville-based council, says he created a task force of volunteers at the end of last year to help with the 2020 Census process.

In recent months, he says the task force has had to adapt how they are working to get people to participate in the census.

“Our original plan, all before the pandemic, was to help church leaders, schools’ leaders, recreation centers, to set up information tables there to give face-to-face guidance,” Santiago said.

Santiago says continuing the 2020 Census efforts during the pandemic has been a collective effort with other local organizations to reach as many in the Hispanic community as possible.

“We work with AshaKiran, we work with Huntsville schools, we work with a health center, which have operations in other areas,” Santiago said.

The organizations help spread census information while also helping those in the Hispanic community impacted by coronavirus, like at local food banks.

“We bring food and at the same time carry census information and talk to people about the census, so we have combined efforts, and this works quite well,” he said.

While Santiago recognizes participation in the 2020 Census is important for all, he says it is especially impactful for the future of the Hispanic community.

“We’re designing tomorrow, we’re designing the future,” Santiago said. “Whatever a one-year-old baby has—in 2030 with the next census, that baby is going to be 11 years old. The question is ‘what future do you want for your child regarding facilities and services that the government can provide?’”

Santiago says that people should not be fearful of participating in the 2020 Census, but rather they should think of their families.

“Lose the fear and this news you may be hearing and the comments some people make and think more than anything about the future of your children and grandchildren, it’s for them,” Santiago said.

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