You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Add the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to the Census.
This is one of those: "Who knew this wasn’t already a thing and why do we even have to ask our policy makers to get on it?” kind of actions. But, apparently, the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t recognize the uniqueness of people from the Middle East and North Africa — or MENA — region. MENA includes a significant number of Arab Americans — a group currently experiencing heightened discriminated thanks to fear mongering from the GOP and Fox News crowd. In such a climate, their receiving specific designation from a governmental body has political, cultural, and practical implications.
Excluding a group from the Census essentially makes them invisible from a political and policy standpoint, so the National Network for Arab American Communities and their parent group the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services are building grassroots support to create a new category. The comment period is open now; you can add your name to help reach the necessary 5,0000 supporter mark by visiting the “Take Action” tab at NNAAC.org. Comments close February 1st; please act now so the opportunity doesn’t pass.
A successful campaign would mean including the MENA region in the 2020 census, giving people from that community more power with office holders. Because people from the MENA region identify with many racial backgrounds, they are not viewed as a group from a governmental and policy standpoint. Rights often begin with recognition; Census classifications serve as a resource to local and federal officials charged with caring for their constituents.
The Census is also used by non-profits and organizers; official recognition of the region allows for non-governmental agencies to address the needs of a community that is underserved, not just because of racism and malevolence, but also because of simple ignorance on the part of those who administer services.
Visit NNAAC.org and add your name. The Census only comes around every ten years, so missing this opportunity means another decade without recognition.
Leave a positive comment by February 1 to support adding the MENA region to the Census
"For Republicans, Muslims Will Be the Gays of 2016” by Dean Obeidallah at The Daily Beast
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich