Twelve organizations, including one in the Azores, officialized participation in the campaign launched by the Luso-American Leadership Council (PALCUS) to count Portuguese in the 2020 Census, said national director Marie Fraley.
The ‘Make Portuguese Count’ initiative, launched late last year, aims to alert Luscendants that they can write “Portuguese” in the blank line that will be provided on the Census Bureau form. The final questionnaire, which has not yet been approved by Congress, adds in paragraph 7 the possibility of identifying the ethnic origin.
“PALCUS is implementing a five-step strategy in this national campaign through the Full Counting Committee,” said Marie Fraley, adding that this is “the first national gender committee in the history of the U.S. Census Bureau.” This is due to the “national reach” of PALCUS, explained the official, since the other ethics committees are typically local and regional.
The campaign aims to reach “the entire 1.37 million” audience of US residents who identified themselves as Portuguese in the latest Census Bureau surveys, between 2012 and 2016, conducted through the American Community Survey. This accounting in the Census 2020 would update the official numbers of Portuguese descendants in the country.
PALCUS has identified 500 organizations that will be able to enter the campaign, which they hope will be able to reach a portion even larger than the identified population.
Among the entities that have already been confirmed is the Association of Azorean Emigrants, which is based in Ribeira Grande (São Miguel), which is due to the fact that a large percentage of Luso-Americans have origins in the Azores.
The most represented State is, so far, Rhode Island, with seven participants: Faialense Foundation, Holy Ghost Brotherhood of Charity, The Academy of Codfish of New England, Rhode Island Day of Portugal, Knights of Cortes Reais, Portuguese American Women’s Association and Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies.
Two organizations have also joined in California, the state that accounts for the most luscendant nationwide, with the California Portuguese-American Coalition and the Portuguese Fraternal Society of America already confirmed.
In New York is registered the Portuguese Circle and in New Jersey the Contact-USA / MediaConsult.
The “most important part” of the campaign will be the “involvement of voices of trust” in communities, with spokespersons who will disseminate relevant information.
This phase will include direct communication in events and video messages by personalities known among the luscendants. Marie Fraley believes that these voices will have the greatest impact as of April 1, 2020, the day the general census begins.
The first phase is already underway, which is to draw attention to the campaign and its mission. The response has been “very positive” with “a reach of more than 87,000 people on social networks.”
The Committee will then continue to expand the network with a focus on the “most populous Portuguese communities” and the entry of more affiliated organizations. “We are committed to achieving consistency in the message and information passed on to the community,” said Marie Fraley, “since we are working directly with the U.S. Census Bureau.”