For Immediate Release
October 12, 2009
Contacts: Eun Sook Lee (NAKASEC) 323-937-3703 x 205
Becky Belcore (KRCC) 773-588-9158
Dae Joong Yoon (KRC) 323-937-3718
Census Begins to Speak Our Language
Census Bureau Announces Expansion of their Language Assistance Program
(Los Angeles, CA) On October 1, Census Director Robert M. Groves announced in a letter addressed to the 2010 Census Advisory Committee that the census language assistance program will be expanded. Specifically, changes will be made to the Advance Letter in English (which is mailed to all households in March 2009 alerting them of the upcoming census form) to include messages in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian. The in-language messages will direct respondents to the 2010 Census website which is being revised to include in-language instructions to help fill out the census forms in different languages.
The Bureau’s language assistance program will also distribute multi-language postcards that will list six telephone questionnaire numbers. The languages are English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian. Current plans are to mail the post cards to Census tracts with 10% or more linguistically isolated households that speak one of the six languages.
“We welcome the response of the Census Bureau to the creative and effective recommendations put forth by the 2010 Census Advisory Committee. Language assistance is vital in achieving a complete and accurate account of hard-to-count communities who face challenges in accessing information and becoming familiar with the census,” said Becky Belcore, executive director of KRCC.
“For the Korean American community, of which 41% live in linguistically isolated households and 71% are immigrants, receiving the Advance Letter with information in Korean will truly impact our participation in the census. We look forward to working with the national and local Census Bureau offices to ensure that our community members are alerted to the news and are confident participants in the Census 2010 campaign,” said Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of KRC.
“Much is at stake with the 2010 census as the data collected will direct $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments. The census count will also determine how many new jobs are created to how much funding schools receive hence working towards a complete and accurate count is to the benefit of all community members. It is also about ensuring political representation and the drawing of our district lines. That is why NAKASEC is preparing a comprehensive education and outreach campaign so that every Korean American is educated and invested in the 2010 census,” said Eun Sook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC.
NAKASEC is a national organization founded in 1994 by local Korean American community organizations to project a national progressive voice and promote the full civic participation of Korean Americans as part of a greater goal of building a national movement for social change.