By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 12, 2020: As the protests and call grows louder for Black Lives to Matter a News Americas analysis has found that in the large majority-minority congressional districts in Florida and New York, where Caribbean immigrants make up a large section of the constituents, the census response rate continues to lag behind the wider city and state total.
With the 2020 Census count underway, a NANN check showed the self-response rate in Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, NY, is just over 51 percent while the city’s overall response rate is closer to 57 percent. The Brooklyn, NY district is home to 52.7% blacks, of which a large percentage are West Indians.
In Brooklyn’s Congressional District 8, represented by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the response rate was even lower, at almost 48 percent. That Brooklyn district is also majority black with the black population put at 53.43 percent and comprising a large number of Caribbean Americans as well.
In Congressional District 5 in Queens, NY, represented by Congressman Gregory Meeks and home to a large percentage of Caribbean immigrants and African Americans, the Census response rate to date is almost 48 percent as well, lower than the city’s average of about 57 percent.
In Florida’s Congressional District 5, represented by Congressman Al Lawson and home to some 53 percent blacks, the Census response rate is also below the state’s average of 58.3 percent, coming in at almost 55 percent.
And in Florida’s Congressional District 20, represented by Congressman Alcee Hastings, home to some 53 percent blacks including Caribbean Americans, the response rate also lags behind the state’s average total, coming in at 55.3 percent.
CaribID founder, Felicia J. Persaud, who lobbied for 12 years for a way for Caribbean immigrants and those with Caribbean ancestry to count on US Census forms, says the numbers are disheartening, especially given the current call to action around #BLM.
“We in the black community must also ensure we count so funding can come to our communities for the next 10 years; this is how we can help ensure our lives matter in this country,” Persaud told NANN Thursday.
She also urged the many black congressional representatives around the country, including in the Caribbean dominant congressional districts in New York and Florida, to use their voice to help push for a higher response rate in their districts or face losing their seats.
“This is serious and its about the next decade of our lives,” said Persaud. “We can protest alright and vote, but we have to stand up and be counted as well, otherwise we are leaving millions in dollars at the table and crying after the fact won’t help. The power is literally in our hands.”
Census results shape the future of communities, as census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years.
Take the Census now by clicking this link.