This PSA is part of NYC Census 2020's effort to boost census self-response rates in neighborhoods with significant Punjabi-speaking populations, including Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park
NEW YORK - NYC Census 2020 released a new Punjabi language PSA featuring Vishavjit Singh, a Sikh community advocate, illustrator, and artist who started nationwide conversations about inclusion and belonging after donning his "Sikh Captain America" uniform. In the PSA, Singh explains why Sikhs, who are predominantly Punjabi language speakers, should know that the census is safe, easy, and for everyone, and that funding for the community's schools, hospitals, and roads are at stake. The PSA will be broadcast on Punjabi channels in New York City, including JUS-Punjabi TV and PTC-Punjabi TV and as part of digital ads.
While more than half of New York City households have completed the census (53.4%) as of July 14, neighborhoods with significant South Asian populations in Queens, including Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and South Ozone Park are significantly behind the city's overall self-response rate, with self-response rates of in the 42-to-45 percent range. This means that federal funding for critical services, such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more is at very serious risk in these neighborhoods.
The 2020 Census also determines each state's share of congressional seats -- and New York stands to lose up to two congressional seats as a result of a potential undercount. The census also determines local district lines. New York City currently has no South Asian or Indo-Caribbean elected officials, despite South Asians being the fastest-growing immigrant group overall in the city, with significant populations in Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. Accurate and fair districting will ensure that South Asians have representation that better reflects the needs of their community in the future.
"The Trump administration's failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the census, which we fought off successfully, has had a chilling effect on immigrant communities' participation in the 2020 Census," said NYC Census Director Julie Menin and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department. "We thank Vishvajit Singh for making sure his community knows that there is no immigration or citizenship question on the census and that all responses are completely confidential and cannot be used by anyone, including law enforcement, your landlord, or ICE. We thank Vishvajit for making sure his community knows that the census is for everyone."
"Right now, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park's response rates to the United States census is just 42 percent - almost the lowest in all of New York City," said Sikh community advocate Vishavjit Singh in the PSA. "If we don't respond to the census, we will lose billions in funding for our community's schools, hospitals, roads, and more. If we don't show numbers, the government won't know how many of us there are to provide money for. The census is just 10 simple questions and completely confidential. There are no questions about immigration or citizenship status. Nobody can see your answers -- not police, not immigration, not even your landlord. Please, right away, go to my2020census.gov and complete the census."
"Having witnessed firsthand the painful discrimination my turbaned Sikh father faced following 9/11 right here in the city he's called home for decades, there can be no more important exercise for all of us Sikhs to participate in than that which truly allows us to be seen, heard, and respected – and that is the census," said Amit Singh Bagga, Deputy Director, NYC Census 2020. "If we are not counted, we will be invisible when it comes to the dollars and cents that come right into our communities for schools, hospitals, roads, and more – not to mention that we will be deprived of representation that truly reflects the needs and priorities of our communities. Being counted is the only way we will secure the money, power, and respect we are rightfully owed, and the only way we will build the foundation for racial and immigrant justice in our city, both now and for decades to come."
Singh joins actor and writer Kal Penn in participating in the NYC Census 2020 campaign. NYC Census 2020 has also partnered with many South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community-based organizations, including United Sikhs, to boost the census count among those New Yorkers as part of the Complete Count Fund.
NYC Census 2020 has previously released PSAs featuring artists, celebrities, and public figures with strong ties to New York City, including singerAlicia Keys, rapperCardi B,Lin Manuel-Miranda,Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Late Night host Seth Meyers, andSupreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. These PSAs are part of a strategy to reach historically undercounted New Yorkers and encourage people to self-respond to the census online or via phone, especially during COVID-19. Recently NYC Census 2020 and Seamless, Grubhub's NYC-specific brand, also announced a contest where winners will receive ten $1,000 gift cards to New York City residents who recently completed the 2020 Census.
New York City has made significant strides in census self-response rates, closing the gap with the rest of the nation. Today, New York City stands just 8.7 percentage points behind the national total -- an improvement of 5 percentage points from 2010, and an improvement of more than 2 percentage points from two months ago.
NYC Census 2020 is a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative established by Mayor de Blasio in January 2019 to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The $40 million program is built on four pillars: (1) a $19 million community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund, empowering 157 community-based organizations to engage historically undercounted communities around the 2020 Census; (2) an in-house "Get Out the Count" field campaign supported by the smart use of cutting-edge data and organizing technology, and a volunteer organizing program to promote a complete count in each of the city's 245 neighborhoods; (3) an innovative, multilingual, tailored messaging and marketing campaign, including a $3 million commitment to investing in community and ethnic media to reach every New York City community; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City's 350,000-strong workforce and the city's major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based communities, cultural institutions, higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation. Through close partnerships with trusted leaders and organizations across the five boroughs, this unprecedented campaign represents the largest municipal investment in census organizing nationwide and will build an enduring structure that empowers New Yorkers to remain civically engaged.