The intersection of Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill, Queens, on Saturday, Sept. 26, was alive with music, tables of leaflets, and speakers, calling on Indo-Caribbean nationals in South Asian communities to be counted at the 2020 Census “Queens Gets Counted! Rally and Outreach.
The five-hour initiative was a borough-wide marquee event during NYC’s Census Week of Action. The Richmond Hill location was one of the thirty-plus events that took please throughout the most culturally-diverse borough, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Caribbean Equality Project, Nirmala Singh, South Queens Women’s March, the Queens Museum, the U.S. Census Bureau, Jahajee Sisters, United Madrassi Association, Coalition of Progressive Hindus, Kaurageous Love, DRUM — Desis Rising Up & Moving: Aarti and Kesar, DRUM Members and faith leaders, to signed up scores of residents ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.
A voter registration outreach, and facemask distribution, in collaboration with Office of Council Member Adrienne Adams, Richard David, District Leader for the NYS Assembly District 31, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, and Sadhana, brought residents together.
The call-to-action sounded an alarm, for communities to be heard and build political power and respect by being counted in the 2020 Census.
Mohamed Q. Amin, founder and executive director, Caribbean Equality Project, issued a passionate plea to residents to be counted, noting that Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park have a self-response rate of 51 percent to the 2020 Census. “Our thriving multicultural Caribbean immigrant communities are already under-resourced and underfunded, not just in Queens but throughout New York City.”
“We are now at risk of losing half the necessary federal funding for housing, healthcare, schools, public transportation, parks, and so much more, said Mohamed Q. Amin.”
“At this culturally-responsive call-to-action, the organizers and speakers alike reaffirmed community members that the 2020 Census is safe for everyone, regardless of your immigrant status.”
“We have to leave our community to seek free immigration services, and domestic violence counseling,” he said, praising the LGBTQ organizers for volunteering their time to bring resources to Richmond Hill in the middle of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“There are 10 basic questions that would impact our community for the next years. We have the power to create change for the next 10 years. There is no immigration question, when completing the Census form, regardless of your immigration status, you will be counted,” said Mohamed Q. Amin.
“Even though the 2020 Census does not represent the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community’s lives and experiences, we are energizing our community across New York City to participate, so we can receive our fair share.”
“Hundreds of billions of dollars are on the line, including funds for many programs that directly support the LGBTQ+ community, including job programs, housing, education, senior centers, and HIV-prevention and treatment programs,” he added.
Nirmala Singh, one of the co-organizers and founding board member of the South Queens Women’s March, echoed, “Queens, we were undercounted 10 years ago and have seen the devastating impact it has had on our communities. A powerful reminder that “our communities deserve better.”
Co-Director, Jahajee Sisters, Shivana Jorwar who advocates on behalf abused woman, noted that they must be able to survive and thrive. “Women in abusive relationships do not need a man to survive.
“We have each other, Guyanese, Trinidadians must be counted. We are a woman’s empowerment organization, and it is important that women have access to resources, such as affordable housing to make them independent. We are in solidarity with everyone to make sure they are counted,” said the lawyer, reproductive justice advocate, and community organizer.
To learn more about the Caribbean Equality Project, visit www.CaribbeanEqualityProject.org or call 347.709.3179. For regular updates on CEP’s work, connect on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram at @CaribbeanEqualityProject and Twitter @CaribEquality.
To learn more about the South Queens Women’s March, please visit southqueenswomensmarch.org.