Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) is launching a national campaign for Portuguese-American participation in the 2020 U.S. Census under the tagline “Make Portuguese Count!” PALCUS has been working with U.S. Census national and regional offices and Complete Count Committees in the Portuguese-American communities across the country to promote Portuguese-American participation in the upcoming decennial census.
Providence County Test: Through Rhode Island PALCUS Director, Marie Fraley, we have advocated for participation in the only 2018 U.S. Census End-to-End Test in the nation in Providence County, RI still in progress. Census workers are now following up with home visits for those who did not fill out the form online or via email or by phone.
PALCUS’ outreach to the local community to encourage filling out the End-to-End Census Testform was accomplished through community meetings, social media blasts, bilingual letters to parishes and organizations and radio and TV interviews. This will serve to create a template for the national campaign for the 2020 Census.
Update: On March 31st, the proposed 2020 Census questionnaire was submitted to Congress for revision and approval. Once approved, we will know for certain how the Race/Ethnicity Question will be framed and be able to advise Portuguese-Americans how best to respond to ensure that we are counted in full.
Why is this important? Because there is no specific option or line for “Portuguese” under Race/Ethnicity, Portuguese-Americans have not been aware that they need to write in “Portuguese” to be counted as an ethnic group. Therefore, we are likely to be under-counted in the U.S. Census and that means that our strength as a community is under-represented and under-valued.
What is the impact? PALCUS works with members of the Portuguese-American Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Friends of Portugal in the U.S. Senate to increase caucus membership in states and districts of high Portuguese population. We cannot make this case unless Portuguese-Americans are counted in the census where our numbers are published. Important issues such as the Visa Waiver Program, Dual Taxation and the future of the Lajes Air Base in Terceira, Azores are addressed by the congressional caucuses.
Locally, community funding and the U.S. Congressional districts are determined by the decennial U.S. Census and may affect representation of Portuguese-Americans in Congress.
Call to Action: PALCUS is proposing that all interested Portuguese-American civic, social and faith organizations work with us to establish a unified plan of action and message for our national effort. Please contact us at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 202-466-4664 if your organization wishes to participate.
Talk with us at the Inaugural National Portuguese-American Conference: Come to the National Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 23, 2018 to talk more about how we can work together to empower our national voice.