LatinoJustice Launches 2010 Census

January 31, 2010
Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications (212) 739-7513


LatinoJustice PRLDEF has launched a new initiative to further social justice and voting rights for Latinos through their participation in the 2010 Census and the subsequent redistricting process that will come in 2011.

Census undercounts have led to a serious lack of Latino representation during elections – and thus the loss of political power and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid to localities. The project will address these problems by reaching out to the Latino community in several states and educating them on the importance of participating, monitoring and testifying during the reapportionment and redistricting activities.

“This project fits in with our stated goal of ensuring the fair treatment of Latinos in all walks of life,” said Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Being counted in the census – whether you are documented or undocumented – ensures that you have a say on how the government treats you in the United States. If you don’t participate, you don’t have a voice.”

The project will concentrate its outreach in regions where new Latino immigrants are perennially undercounted and where Puerto Ricans relocate from the island to the mainland. The focus of the work will be in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and other Eastern U.S. communities that have seen large increases in the Latino population – and where an accurate count will affect Congressional reapportionment outcomes.

A proper count of the U.S. Latino population will have a major impact on the Congressional reapportionment in several key states. Our efforts to ensure that this often undercounted and underserved population is counted could result in major political and financial benefits for all residents of the states we are targeting.

"Annually, over $400 billion in federal funds are redistributed to the states and localities,” said Jackson Chin, Project Coordinator. “Each undercounted person, including children, loses $14,000 from the community and leaves a negative impact for 10 years. The “invisibility” of the undercounted weakens the political representation of Latinos in the important redistricting process which relies on Census data."

Several Civic Participation Educators who will target specific communities in key states will be deployed to work with community leaders. These Educators will collaborate with other local and national civil rights groups. The project will also disseminate information through the LatinoJustice PRLDEF website and through social networking sites like Facebook.

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LatinoJustice PRLDEF, established in 1972, has won landmark civil rights cases in education, housing, voting, migrant, immigrant, employment and other civil rights. PRLDEF has fought for the right of non-English speaking students to get a good education, against housing discrimination in city-owned apartments, and to open up employment opportunities for all citizens.

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