LocationAlhambra , CA
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted U.S. 2020 Census outreach for nonprofits like the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM), an Asian Pacific Islander-based (API) organization focused on health and environmental justice in the nation. Through a grant from the California Community Foundation, APIFM focuses on San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods with low self-response rates.
According to a study by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, over 66,700 Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley live in poverty. “Almost half of Asian Americans (46%) – over 242,000 – in the San Gabriel Valley are limited English proficient (LEP).” Due to COVID-19, efforts to reach these demographics have brought on a completely new set of challenges.
Before the pandemic, APIFM’s initial outreach plan was to host in-language census workshops for SGV residents at schools, faith-based organizations and libraries – including Monterey Park’s Bruggemeyer Library, Rosemead Library and Alhambra’s Civic Center Library.
These workshops would have explained the benefits of completing the census questionnaire and the three ways to fill it out. In addition, APIFM planned to work with trained bilingual community members for on-site interpretation and translation of informational census materials in hopes that attendees would use their newly acquired knowledge to inform their own communities, possibly inspiring others to participate in the census.
However, in mid-March, the three SGV libraries cancelled all group gatherings at their locations as a safety precaution against the spreading of COVID-19.
APIFM’s funding partners shared options to:
- participate in phone banking and text messaging
- conduct digital and social media outreach
- host virtual or in-person events
- conduct door-to-door canvassing
- host train-the-trainer services
With limited staff capacity and growing fear of the rising COVD-19 cases, APIFM decided to use digital and social media outreach.
Consequently, the Alhambra Source reached out to partner on a census video project which led to the production of informational videos in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese. It is important to offer these videos in various languages because of the diversity of the San Gabriel Valley. See below for the videos.
Also mentioned in the Asian Americans Advancing Justice study, Asians and Latinos constituted 74% of the population of the San Gabriel Valley – over half a million are Asian Americans and over 7,000 are Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI). The four largest API ethnic populations are Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Korean.
However, APIFM is concerned informational census videos will not be able to reach residents who do not have access to the internet and hope those who do will share them with family and friends. APIFM is also disseminating these videos through our newsletter and social media platforms, and with local partners.
APIFM would like to encourage those who are bilingual to consider applying to work as enumerators. A connection of a common language can assist households in filling out the census.
Linda Huynh is the Community Educator and Community Engagement Coordinator for Special Service for Groups, Inc./Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement. Her work began with the organization’s environmental justice leadership development, with the students of Mark Keppel High School. With those youth leaders, she promoted safer bike routes and cleaner air in Monterey Park, especially around the classrooms of Mark Keppel (which is right next to the 10 freeway). Linda leads outreach, engagement, and nutrition education for the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) project in Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Historic Filipinotown.
The “Census 101” videos were made possible by Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM), Alhambra Source, California Community Foundation (CCF), and We Count LA: San Gabriel Valley. See below to watch the videos in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese.