Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year from September 15 to October 15. This commemorative period started back in 1968 with the goal of celebrating the contributions of generations of Hispanics to the U.S.
Although Latinos make up 18 percent of our nation’s population, and have immeasurably contributed to our communities, those same communities could be in jeopardy of losing critical funding if Latinos are undercounted in the upcoming Census. The Urban Institute projects that as many as 2.2 million Latinos could be undercounted due to a number of reasons. As a result, communities across the country, regardless of heritage, could lose millions in funding for vital programs and services for things like schools, roads, and hospitals, not to mention political representation.
That’s why we’re celebrating the month by outlining a few ideas that will help ensure that the entire Hispanic community is counted in the 2020 Census. Governments, community-based organizations, and individuals can remind the Hispanic community that they are valued, and deserve to be counted.
Consider hosting or at least tabling at a Hispanic heritage event. Capture the interest of attendees by using these talking points and messaging suggested by the Leadership Conference Education Fund and NALEO. They highlight the importance of sparking an emotional connection to the Census.
Your organization can create this connection by identifying the resources missing in your community a linking them to the Census. Could your public schools be better funded? How’s the quality of their meal program? What services can be improved in your community? Ask these questions to attendees and listen to their thoughts.
One of the most important reminders and emotional connection is to the future: Keep in mind that young children are the most likely to be undercounted. The 2010 Census missed 1 million, and more than 400,000 of the missed children were Hispanic. Parents and children should be a priority audience in your outreach. Cater to them by having a balloon or face painting station, and offering healthy snacks. Talk to them about the Census and inspire them to participate!
Use social media to engage your followers in the Census. A great way to grab people’s attention is to post memes. They are funny, get the message across, and are easy to share in different platforms.
Utilize content that will resonate with the Hispanic audience. For example, images from telenovelas can appeal to adults while pop culture can appeal to younger generations. Use a meme generator and create some entertaining Census memes. Make sure to add relevant trending hashtags like #HispanicHeritageMonth, #HispanicHeritage, #WeCount, and #2020Census.
Need some inspiration? Check out this presentation by the Census Counts campaign that showcases GIFs and memes from their Create-A-Thons across the country. Take it a step further and conduct your own creative session with your team! Census Counts has also put together a social media training video that might be helpful to your organization.
Consider amplifying your outreach with CommunityConnect Labs’ Community Motivator. Connect with members of the Hispanic community now via a digital pledge campaign and automatically sign them up for reminders to fill out the Census next year. One interaction equals multiple touchpoints.
Constituents can pledge in English or Spanish and get a personalized pledge card with your organization’s logo that’s easy to share on social media. It’s as easy as asking attendees at your event to send a text on their phones.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Let us know how your organization is celebrating.