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Bing, ACC Push Census Participation

posted on: Mar 19, 2010

The stack of photocopied mazes that read “Help Nadia find her way home where she will be counted,” in English and Arabic, lay on a U.S. Census information table set up Thursday night at the Arab American and Chaldean Council’s town hall meeting with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on the city’s west side.

Lying on a U.S. Census information table amid other pamphlets and posters in English and Arabic, the children’s activity sheets were part of the federal and Detroit governments’ effort to educate the Chaldean community about the importance of participating in the Census.

Bing, U.S. Census Bureau partnership coordinator Vincent Kountz, Father Jacob Yasso of Detroit’s Sacred Heart Chaldean Catholic Church, and ACC president and CEO Haifa Fakhouri were among those who told the estimated 200 people at the ACC Youth Recreation and Leadership Center how census data is used for determining federal funding allotments and congressional representation.

“I impress upon you how important it is to make sure we can stand up… and say, ‘Detroit counts. I count,’” Bing said. “A lot of Chaldeans want to come into this country. … We have to make sure the lifestyles they want to live are available.”

The ACC is offering census assistance for those who can’t understand the forms, Fakhouri said.

For adults attending the organization’s language classes, the help has begun.

“It’s a must, because it’s very important to know the count for people,” Colette Samp, an ACC ESL instructor, said. “We keep taking and filling out forms.”

ZLATI MEYER
Detroit Free Press