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“Participating in the Census is the First Step to Better Representation for Minorities in the U.S.” by Repetto 8th Grader Kaitlyn Cao

  • Kaitlyn Cao is the 2nd Place winner in the 6th-8th Grade category of the Alhambra Source 2020 Census Storytelling Contest. She is an 8th grader at Repetto Elementary. Photo courtesy of Jodi Li.

  • Kaitlyn Cao is the 2nd Place winner in the 6th-8th Grade category of the Alhambra Source 2020 Census Storytelling Contest. She is an 8th grader at Repetto Elementary. Photo courtesy of Jodi Li.


Alhambra , CA United States

The Alhambra Source 2020 Census Storytelling Contest, co-sponsored by the Alhambra Unified School District, was created to educate local students on the importance of this year’s count and inspire them to engage their family and friends on the topic of the 2020 census. This student engagement series offers students an opportunity to voice their opinions, track their experience learning about this year’s count, and begin a conversation with the community at large.

This week’s story is by Kaitlyn Cao, an eighth-grade student at Repetto Elementary. Her story, “Participating in the Census is the First Step to Better Representation for Minorities in the U.S.,” highlights important aspects of the census found in her research. Kaitlyn is the 2nd Place winner in the 6th-8th Grade Category.

We will be publishing one of the winning entries every Thursday for the next two weeks.

Participating in the Census is the First Step to Better Representation for Minorities in the U.S.

By Kaitlyn Cao

As an Asian-American in this historical pandemic, I hope to encourage my family, friends, and community to take part in the census. I am an upcoming high school  freshman but currently attend Repetto Elementary.

I’m aware of the large population of Asians in San Gabriel Valley, and I’m sure you are too. As I researched this topic, I learned through the 2010 census that Asian-Americans are around 13.6% of California’s total population. However, this percentage is 30.9% of the total population of Asian-Americans living in the U.S. Even crazier, the total population of Asian-Americans to the total population of America is only 5.6%.

One thing that made my blood boil was our president, Donald Trump, going out of his way, on multiple occasions, to blame these harsh times on the “Chinese virus.” Not the Coronavirus or Covid-19, the “Chinese virus.” The fact that he called it the “Chinese virus” with little-to-no backlash is distasteful. I may have Chinese in my blood, but I am an Asian-American, this is my home as much as it is his and yours.

By being accounted for in the 2020 census, the Asian-American community can gain numbers. Numbers will give us higher representation. Representation in government positions. In America, numbers are power, just as knowledge is power. All American citizens should educate themselves with what is going on during such a crisis. Asian-Americans, U.S. citizens, are being beaten on the streets. Why? For no other reason, other than their race. These Asian-Americans don’t even have to be Chinese, but still, they suffer abuse. They suffer because of people in power, people like our own president saying that this pandemic is the fault of the “Chinese virus.” Despite us being minorities, we need to stand up for ourselves, for what’s right. As the student body president of my school, it’s my job to stand up for the under-represented and most of the students in my school are minorities. Through my social connections, I can spread the word to those in my community. We, the minorities of the United States, need to stand up for ourselves. We need representation. We need numbers. We need people in power to hear our voices, and the easiest way to do that is with the census.

I will voice this opinion as far as it can go, to my family, to my friends, to my community. I know the power of words. In this case, words will cause action, the action for us to rise. I believe in the power of community organizing, the power of this community to come together and accomplish something based on shared interests. The interest to give us a voice, to take the respect we deserve. The previous president, Barack Obama, was once a community organizer. With his leadership and his connections, he went down in the history books as one of the most respected and loved presidents. He made exceptional changes for our society, from dropping the veteran homeless population by 50% to signing the Affordable Care Act, which gave more than 20 million Americans health insurance. In comparison, what I may be doing is small, but you have to start somewhere.

To reach the goal, you’ll have countless challenges to face, but you need to start somewhere. As a teenager, I will do my part to spread the word. I will get on phone calls with my parents to encourage my grandparents and great parents to do their census. I will have my family share the importance of the statement to their friends as I will to mine. As the next generations of Americans growing up in this uncertain country, it’s more important than ever to do the census. In such harsh times, we need to start spreading awareness now. The future is unclear, but one thing’s for sure, the first step we need to take to gain respect and increase our minority percentage is through the census.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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