Immigrant advocates are fi ghting to debunk myths about the 2020 Census, in hopes of encouraging more New
York City residents to fi ll out the decennial survey. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
Caribbean Life, Sept. 18-24, 2020 3
By Nelson A. King
Caribbean American legislators in
Brooklyn last week paid tribute to
the victims and “brave” first responders
on the 19th anniversary of the
9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Nineteen years ago, the terrorist
attacks that took place on Sept.
11, 2001 changed our city and world
forever,” Assemblymember Rodneyse
Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian
immigrants, told Caribbean Life.
“We will not and cannot forget the
bravery that ordinary New Yorkers
exhibited on 9/11,” added Bichotte, the
chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
This year, the anniversary of 9/11
was marked by two ceremonies — the
official one at the National September
11 Memorial Museum in lower
Manhattan and another, hosted by
the Stephen Stiller Tunnel, at the
“Nineteen years after the attacks of
Sept. 11, the memories, the pain, the
devastating impact of unimaginable
loss remains heavy on the hearts and
minds of New Yorkers and the nation,”
said New York City Public Advocate
Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian
immigrants. “Now, as we did then,
is a time to comfort all who are mourning,
to support all who are struggling,
to give gratitude to our heroes and aid
to our suffering neighbors.”
Haitian-born New York City Council
Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene noted
that the world on Friday paused to
“remember the thousands of individuals
from all walks of life and nationalities
who were taken from us in a
horrific act of terrorism that changed
the soul of our great nation.
“We recall the legacies and eternal
spirit of our loved ones, and we vow to
continue to uphold the values of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness
that have guided us through the most
difficult of circumstances,” said Dr.
Eugene, the first Haitian to be elected
New York City Council.
By Nelson A. King
In the final weeks before the 2020
Census ends, the New York Immigration
Coalition and NY Counts 2020
are working with census leaders,
elected officials and immigrant rights
advocates to get out the count.
As of Sept. 8, NYIC said 58.8
percent of households in New York
City and 61.9 percent of households
across New York State had filled out
NYIC said on Sept. 8 that both the
city and state are trailing the national
self-response rate of 65.5 percent.
Before and during the 2020 Census,
NYIC said the Trump administration
has stoked fear in immigrant
communities — first by attempting
to put a citizenship question on the
census, and now by seeking to unconstitutionally
individuals from being counted to
create Congressional districts.
While the NYIC and partners are
suing the Trump administration for
its most recent attack on immigrant
communities, NYIC said fear of participation
in the census remains high.
Additionally, the White House
announced it would cut short critical
door-knocking efforts for the
2020 Census. As of Sept. 8, Bureau
workers were expected to cease conducting
in-person interviews for the
census on Sept. 30, 2020.
“We’re in crunch time, and New
York’s future depends on all New
Yorkers—and all immigrants—filling
out the Census,” said Steve Choi,
executive director of New York Immigration
Coalition, an umbrella policy
and advocacy organization for more
than 200 groups in New York State.
“We cannot let the Trump administration
“We have the enormous task of
rebuilding our state in the wake of
the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
“New Yorkers simply cannot afford an
undercount, nor can we allow Trump
to scare us into being undercounted.
The 2020 Census determines our
future — the allocation of billions
of federal dollars for New York’s
schools, roads, hospitals, our representation
in Congress, and more for
the next decade.”
In the final weeks, Choi said immigrant
advocates plan on “doing everything
we can to assure immigrant
communities that they can and must
participate in the Census safely as
required by law.”
By law, the US government is constitutionally
required to count the
number of people living in the United
States every 10 years.
“All New Yorkers from all backgrounds,
regardless of immigration
status, must be counted,” Choi said.
“This includes children, seniors, people
who are homeless or undocumented,
and people of all nationalities.”
He said the public can respond
online to be counted: my2020census.
gov. Starting in August, census doorknockers
began conducting interviews
of New York households that
did not self-respond.
Choi said the census is safe, secure
and confidential, and that no individual’s
data can be shared with any
other government agencies by law,
and that includes no data sharing
is allowed with the Department of
There is also no citizenship question
on the 2020 Census, Choi said,
stressing that NYIC and allies fought
the Trump administration “all the
way to the Supreme Court to block
the blatant attempt to politicize the
Census with a citizenship question.”
To fill out the census online, visit
The Tribute in Light shines in downtown
Manhattan to commemorate
the 19th anniversary of 9/11.
Advocates debunk myths
to get out the count