The United States 2010 Census is an important head count of every resident of this country regardless of their race, gender and occupation. What makes the 2010 Census so significant is that the head count takes place only every 10 years. The last census, collected in 2000, counted less Laotian-Americans than the actual numbers at the time.
Mr. Sourichanh (Noi/Sirch) Chanthyasack, President/Chair of the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA) a national 501c3 advocacy organization founded in 1999 based in Washington, D.C., speaking by phone from his San Francisco residence, talked to VOA about the role of his organization in leading efforts to encourage members of the multi-ethnic Laotian American community across the nation to participate in the upcoming decennial US Census.
"The Census 2010 is the most important decision and opportunity in a decade that will dramatically affect our community in a positive or negative way. That all depends on our actions…to be counted or not, and to be correctly counted to help our community everyone who cares and supports the multi-ethnic people of Laos, manually write Laotian on their 2010 Census form. It's safe, easy, and important! 10 questions 10 minutes on the form," explained Sourichanh.
Sourichanh also discussed his organization: "LANA has been around since 1999, a national non-profit organization (501 c3). We are all volunteers and there's no paid staff. No one is paid, there's no funding. LANA is taking a lead in this because it's the most important thing we can do to help our community in ten years. It's so important that if we sleep on this again, we are going to miss out another ten years and we can't afford that. We are young refugees to this country, over thirty years or so, compared to the Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans and others, we are still behind. Even the Vietnamese and Lao-Hmong have gotten into the game to advocate to their respective communities and know how to work the system to benefit their community. So we need to really wake up. And LANA is taking a lead because …there's no one doing it, and not because we want to do it, but we have to do it. The other thing is that we don't want to take a lead, but we want to motivate, mobilize, connect, and share the information with the multi-ethnic Lao community. Also, LANA is an official National Partner of US Census. The reason is not because we are special, but because we are a national organization."
The importance of the Census 2010 is that it affects the number of seats of each of the 50 states in the U.S. House of Representative of the United States Congress, and will determine where the $400 billion per year federal funding go which impacts services to our community and non-profit work in the areas of school, education, language translation, health, senior care, housing, jobs, and much more.
For more information about 2010 Census and US Census Bureau, please visit www.2010Census.gov . Please contact your local US Census office for more details and for an additional info about helping the multi-ethnic Laotian American community to be counted correctly in Census 2010….please contact LANA (Laotian American National Alliance) at http://www.lana-usa.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Listen to audio files for more details.