By Emilio Vaca
Editor’s note: The author of this My Shot is the deputy director of outreach for California’s Complete Count Census 2020 Office, writing as both a community member and in his official capacity. Following his authorship of this piece, Diana Crofts-Pelayo, who is the assistant deputy director of the census office, informed us of the following update to the due date for filling out your census:
“The ruling by Judge Koh [that the census deadline is extended to Oct. 31] helps alleviate the pressures of the current enumeration timeline to better achieve a complete count. However, as the legal battle continues, Californians should not wait — the time is now.
Complete your 2020 Census form today. Please go online, call, or complete your paper forms [all info is at the end of the article] to ensure you, your family and your community get your fair share of resources and representation for the next 10 years.”
Yet earlier this month, as Crofts-Pelayo explained, “the federal government filed an emergency motion in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in National Urban League v. Ross. The motion seeks to stay Judge Koh’s order pending appeal and an immediate administrative stay pending disposition of the stay motion …
In New York et al v. Trump, the Trump administration filed documents Saturday in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an expedited hearing on appeal of the New York District Court ruling invalidating the White House memo that would exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count. The federal government submitted a brief requesting oral arguments to be heard in December.”
Since Crofts-Pelayo’s update, the appeal was unsuccessful. The following was sent to census workers on Oct. 2:
“As a result of court orders, the October 5, 2020 target date is not operative, and data collection operations will continue through October 31, 2020. Employees should continue to work diligently and enumerate as many people as possible. Contact your supervisor with any questions.” Vaca’s My Shot follows.
We all know some of the history of California and how a large part involves the Gold Rush. In 1849, there was a migration of people from all parts of the world seeking to conquer and dominate this untouched land. Due to the influx of gold into the economy and the subsequent population increase, California then became a state at the detriment of the indigenous people.
Much of this economic activity happened across a few counties in the Sierra Nevada. Families came in search of new beginnings, possibly with dreams of gold nuggets in their heads, to better their future.
I also moved to the Placer/Nevada County region with the same intention; perhaps not in search of gold, but definitely to provide more for my family. My wife Aline and our three daughters (Marceline, Josefine and Nicollette) love the comradery, the kinship with our neighbors and community. We often see people we know at our place of worship or the local hangouts, and our daughters get to see friends at our 4H and Girl Scout meetings at school. These gatherings are all resources that our community deeply relies on.
Little did I know that these resources would shape our daughters’ lives: They are good at archery, being responsible with live animals, and making friends. These are programs that depend upon our collective census participation.
Census data informs funding for key programs such as Head Start, childcare and development programs, community mental health programs, nutritional programs, educational and health care resources, and much more.
Our middle daughter Josefine urgently depends on good health services to keep her safe. She has hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain, causing her headaches, nausea, seizures, and developmental delays.
There have been too many times we’ve had to make the long trek to Sacramento or Stanford to seek medical care due to complications from her condition. We’ve had many late nights and early mornings, treatments and surgeries to ensure Josefine feels a little bit better.
However, she isn’t the only child suffering from a lifelong medical condition — there are many more families that go through similar struggles. They deserve to have health services close to them. They deserve to have the resources they need without having to commute.
While she is doing well now, there’s still a long road ahead. Her two sisters are constantly by her side and are her best nurses when she’s not feeling well.
Not all families are so lucky, unfortunately.
My hope is that if all Californians take the Census, because by doing so we can truly make a difference in our local communities. We can help children like Josefine have the resources they need to thrive.
As the deputy director of outreach for the California Complete Count Census 2020 Office, I have worked closely with more than 150 local, regional, and statewide partners to get the word out about the California’s census. I have personally seen my neighbors and friends, who often come up to the Sierra to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, actually participate in the census.
I know these efforts are not in vain — we’ve been able to motivate millions of households across the state to respond to the census. But there’s more work to be done.
Californians have until Oct. 31 to fill out the census form. It’s quick and easy to complete, and taking just a few minutes helps secure a better tomorrow for your children and neighbors.
There are three easy ways to fill out the form:
Online at my2020census.gov
By phone at (844) 330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here)
By mail if you received a paper form
In completing the census, we can help ensure more children in California have what they need to thrive.
~ Emilio Vaca is deputy director of outreach, California Complete Count — Census 2020 Office