I am a proud Racine community member born and raised. I’m a graduate of the Racine Unified school district, of Gateway Technical College, and spent part of my working life as a Coordinator for the Adult high school GED/HSED program for the City of Racine, Park and Rec. Cultural services. I believe we all are valuable and have a voice that matters. I have always cared about our neighbors and currently work for 9to5 Wisconsin, focused in our most vulnerable neighborhoods getting those hardest to count to fill out their 2020 census.
9to5 Wisconsin works to strengthen women’s ability to achieve economic and racial justice through advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement opportunities like voting and the census, who also serves on the Racine County Counts committee.
The information gathered by the census has a direct impact on the way federal money is distributed to pay for things like schools, hospitals, and road work. The census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, and filling it out guarantees we – and the reality of our community – will be a part of recorded history.
When we do not fill out our census, we and our community suffer the consequences. More than one third of Racine neighbors were not counted in the 2010 census, which resulted in the loss of federal funding. This directly impacted our public schools and contributed to the loss of arts and extracurricular programming, teachers losing employment, and had ripple effects in the lives of students and parents alike.
In my work I hear stories of fear, of skepticism and of political mistrust. Participating and filling out the census is not about “choosing a side” but actually a direct way for our communities to take power into their own hands and ensure that we get equal access to resources and representation. Any resident in Racine can fill out the census, regardless of race, class, age, or work.
So what can you do?
Fill out your census today, fight for our seat at the table, be a part of history, and be counted!
Si se puede!
Diana Valencia, Racine Action Network Lead, 9to5 Wisconsin