A special event was held in Fontana on Sept. 6 to reinforce the importance of all residents' participation in the 2020 U.S. Census.
The Warehouse Worker Resource Center (WWRC), in collaboration with partner organizations including NALEO Educational Fund, MALO, and local elected officials, hosted a launch event for the 2020 CensusIE campaign at the Bel Air Swap meet, where they connected with members of the community to talk about the Census as they handed out ice cream, waters, and Census gear.
At the press conference, speakers gave statements on the importance of an accurate count for the local area, specifically communities of color, while encouraging everyone to stand up and be counted regardless of citizenship status.
State Sen. Connie Leyva (D-20th District) said the Census is very significant because it guides how much funding communities receive from the government.
"It’s critical that the Inland Empire receives its fair share, so let’s work hard -- as I know we can -- to make sure that every single person across our region is counted," Leyva said. "This information is also used by programs in the community, such as libraries and those for the elderly. The impacts and the importance of the Census simply cannot be understated! So let’s get to work!”
Martha Guzman-Hurtado, a City of Fontana spokesperson, also delivered a message at the event.
“The City of Fontana is 100 percent committed to working with all of our community stakeholders to ensure a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census," she said. "The stakes are high and we must work together to bring millions of dollars in federal funds back to our community to provide crucial resources and services such as infrastructure improvements, parks, schools and hospitals.”
Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-47th District) said the Inland Empire is home to more than 4.5 million Californians, with an estimated 29 percent of San Bernardino County census tracts being likely very hard to count. Many of those census tracts are concentrated in her district, which includes Fontana.
"This is important because undercounting these communities means less political representation and resources," Reyes said. "Our district encompasses many hard-to- count communities that have been historically undercounted, including communities of color, large rate of renters, high population of young children, residents who are undocumented immigrants and residents who do not have internet access. Together through coalition building and collaboration, I am confident every person in the 47th Assembly District and the Inland Empire region will be counted.”
Also speaking at the event was Adán Chavéz from the NALEO Education Fund, the Inland Empire Regional Census campaign manager.
“NALEO Education Fund’s work mobilizing the nation’s second largest population group, through our Hagase Contar and Hazme Contar campaigns, remains more important than ever as we attempt to rebuild the trust that has been eroded over the course of this struggle," he said. "Standing alongside our region’s leadership and partners, we will work to educate our community and make sure that every Latino is counted across Riverside and San Bernardino County in the 2020 Census.”
Local resident Brenda Huerta added: “In order to continue pushing for pro-immigrant policies, we need to make sure we are properly represented by filling out the Census 2020, which has great influence on our communities in accessing resources like education and healthcare.”