March 26, 1999
The Census Bureau announced a partnership with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) aimed at encouraging Hispanic-origin residents to participate in Census 2000. Kickoff rallies and news conferences were scheduled in 13 cities on March 30 and at two cities on April 1.
"The undercount rate for Hispanics in 1990 was 5 percent, the highest for any race or ethnic group except American Indians," said Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt. "MALDEF has taken a leadership role in reaching out to Hispanics in the last three censuses and we welcome this organization's commitment to do so again for Census 2000."
Prewitt will join top officials of MALDEF at its Los Angeles headquarters on the morning of March 30 for a joint news conference and Census 2000 roundtable.
MALDEF's national outreach campaign, Hagase Contar! Make Yourself Count!, will consist of community outreach activities, census promotion in the media and regional educational programs in the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast.
The campaign will seek to reach about 3 million parents through schools and churches and 3 million young adults through community organizations, youth centers, sporting events and concerts. It will assist another 1 million non-English-speaking immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries who need help in completing census questionnaires.
In one program already under way in the Los Angeles area, MALDEF works with the Census Bureau to recruit temporary census workers, with MALDEF conducting census employment test-taking workshops and the Census Bureau administering the test itself.
The educational component, directed by MALDEF regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, San Antonio, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., will target community-based groups, schools, churches, small businesses, labor and elected officials.
The organization said it would mount special Census 2000 promotions for Cinco de Mayo, which marks Mexico's 19th century victory over a French army led by Emperor Maximilian, Columbus Day (or Dia de la Raza, as it is known in Spanish) and the independence days of Cuba, Mexico and most of the Central American countries.
The 15 cities where Census 2000 kickoff events were scheduled are: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Detroit (April 1), Fresno (Calif.), Kansas City (April 1), Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.