NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Jackson Heights, NY, United States, 2008/09/18 - Felicia Persaud, founder of CaribWorldNews and Hard Beat Communications is teaming up with CBean Media.tv and several organizations, political leaders, community leaders, entertainers, media owners and individuals across the U.S. to launch CaribID 2010.
As Caribbean Americans we are virtually invisible to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Founder of CaribWorldNews and Hard Beat Communications is teaming up with CBean Media.tv and several organizations, political leaders, community leaders, entertainers, media owners and individuals across the U.S. to launch 'CaribID 2010,' a campaign to simply and forcefully urge the U.S. Census to allow Caribbean nationals/West Indians to be counted as an origin category on the Census form to ensure this important bloc is counted accurately.
Right now CaribID is in the arduous process of getting a congressional bill introduced in the House to call officially for the category. This will ensure that Caribbean nationals can finally be able to tell our story in numbers and be given the credit we truly deserve.
The call to action is for every Caribbean national in this the United States to STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. This means that every national will be sought to become the ambassador in getting the message out and ensuring our voices are raised in unison.
This historic initiative from Hard Beat is a concerted focused effort and its not about the ego of any one group, association or individual. This is about the big picture and the big goal of getting Caribbean Americans counted where it matters – in getting recognition politically and being viewed as the economic power they are.
The census of everyone living in America takes place every ten years as mandated in the U.S. Constitution at its very inception. Unfortunately the U.S. Constitution does not provide detailed instructions for conducting these U.S. Census every ten years. The details are left to the government and specifically the U.S. Census Bureau. On the form everyone will be mailed in 2010 there will be 16 different ways to self-identify racially and ethnically but no category for Caribbean Americans and West Indians men and women to identify who they and their families really are.
Caribbean Americans and West Indians are forced to choose between checking the box mis-identifying themselves as either African American, Asian American or Hispanic or simply as other. That simply is unfair and Un-American.
Of course it’s not going to be an overnight thing but we’re going to start a long over due movement and stay the course and get this done as a representative group for us and our children and their children.
So that like Asians, Hispanics and African Americans we too can be truly counted and our strength measured.
For we have no other identifying factor but West Indian since we are a huge ethnic melting pot of ethnicities and like the people of Guam and Hawaii, we too need our very own Census category.
Every Caribbean national, community leaders, entertainer, student, church leader and the media across the Caribbean American landscape are urged to join this movement as ambassadors to bring awareness to this issue under the 'CaribID 2010' campaign and to say simply and forcefully: "Stand Up & Be Counted."
The Census data directly affect how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and much more.
The census is also used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to redistrict state legislatures while census data are used to define legislature districts, school district assignment areas and other important functional areas of government.
The census is like a snapshot that helps define who we are as a nation. Data about changes in your community are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to provide services for the elderly, where to build new roads and schools, or where to locate job training centers.
WHY CARIB ID?
While there are several different ways an individual could self identify themselves on the Census form, including, for example Samoan those of us who identify ourselves proudly as West Indian or Caribbean cannot.
They are currently forced to fit themselves into other categories – African American, Asian American or written in, in the OTHER box even though Caribbean nationals come from a multi-ethnic region where the only common self-identifying denominator is 'Caribbean' or 'West Indian.'
Currently, West Indians, a largely English speaking immigrant group, are generally classified as “black” by U.S. standards even though there are Indo-Caribbeans as well as those who of Caucasian, Chinese, Portuguese, Amerindians and of course those of mixed heritage.
We define "West Indian" to include all people born or descended from those born in the Anglophone, Dutch and French Caribbean, especially Caricom member nations.
So how many Caribbeans live here is impossible to tell, since they alternately refer to themselves as Asian, black or simply "other" on the census forms. In any case, their numbers are far greater and their impact obvious in states all across the U.S. from the 1600s to now as a huge part of the economically viable immigrant community.
Basic Facts About Caribbean Nationals/West Indians Nationwide:
• The Caribbean born accounted for conservatively 10 percent of the total US foreign-born population in 2000 – that is less than 3 million of those who wrote in that self-identifying option on the Census form and not those who simply ticked African American or Asian American. In 2000, of the 31.1 million foreign born in the United States, about 2,953,066 (9.5 percent) were born in Caribbean countries.
West Indian immigrants tend to define themselves this way, even if they would not all use the term "West Indian." They also tend to differentiate themselves from both Hispanic Caribbeans and Haitians. They share an "Afro-Creole" culture as well as a heritage of British colonialism. Many parents of today's second generation came from places that were politically united at the time of their immigration, even if they are now separate nations. In New York, they live in the same neighborhoods, share similar niches in the occupational structure, and intermarry. Taken together, West Indians are the largest immigrant group in New York.