Why I’m working to ensure that my community is fully counted in the 2020 Census

Sep 25, 2019

Victor Rivera, Chispa Nevada Organizer

As an organizer, I have the privilege of working alongside members of my community everyday to protect our health, air, and water and to advance climate justice. 

Before serving my community as an organizer, I served my country as a member of the Coast Guard along   the Florida coast. I worked to protect coastal communities and waters by holding corporations, boaters,   and fishermen accountable for dumping toxic waste into these waters.  My service led me to become   passionate about environmental justice work, and as the father of a two year old son, to me it’s more   important than ever to fight to protect the health and environment of future generations. 

This passion is what drives me to work to build a cleaner, safer world for my son and my community. As I’ve been working with Chispa Nevada, I’ve witnessed that my predominantly Latinx and low-income community not only bears the brunt of pollution and climate impacts, but also, lacks the resources to overcome these challenges. To ensure that my community has the resources and political representation to thrive, I know that one of the most important things I can do as a community organizer is to make sure that my community is adequately counted in the 2020 census. 

I believe that ensuring that everyone is fairly counted on the census is critical to ensure that all communities have seats at the table and a voice in the decisions that impact them.   

Personally, I am excited to help make sure my community is accurately counted in the census because:From county commissioners to federal officials, representation matters at all levels of government. The counts from the census are used to draw legislative districts and determine political representation.

We cannot have equitable representation or fight against gerrymandering in our districts without a census that reflects our communities. 

Federal funding for critical environmental and public health programs is determined based on the number of people that live in a particular area. Communities like mine that are on the frontlines of pollution and climate change need everyone to be counted so we can have the resources we need to protect our health and environment. 

Since the last census was conducted in 2010, the population in Southern Nevada has grown and changed a lot. As our communities change, it’s critical that we’re adequately counted by the federal government so that our needs are prioritized and funded. Since people in my community — especially veterans, immigrants, low income people, and people of color — are often undercounted in the census, it’s critical that I make sure I work with as many community members as possible to ensure that programs that we care about — programs that fund our schools, healthcare, veterans services, and roads — are adequately funded and prioritized.

That’s why, as the 2020 census nears, here at Chispa Nevada and across the Conservation Voters Movement, we’ll be ramping up our efforts to ensure that our communities are fully counted, starting with our promotores, activists and volunteers. I know 2020 can seem far away sometimes, but the work we do now makes sure that all members of our community are accurately counted in the 2020 census. Will you join me and pledge to get counted in the census? 

Our future depends on the information collected by the census data. Pledge to get counted today to ensure a future that we can all thrive in tomorrow.

Thank you!