A- A+

How Iowa Asian Alliance Will Ensure Asians Are Counted in the 2020 Census

Asian Community in DSM

August 28, 2020

The Iowa Asian Alliance (IAA) is working with community partners to ensure Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are counted and heard by encouraging participation in the 2020 Census and increasing voter registration.

AAPI communities are historically underrepresented in the Census. More than 10,000 refugees from Burma have resettled in Iowa in the last 12 years and are naturalizing at a very high rate. It is important for community organizations like IAA to help new Americans understand the process of voting and the importance of the Census. Partnering with community leaders, intentional outreach and language assistance are some of the crucial factors to reaching underrepresented groups for both of these efforts. IAA has further supported awareness by working with the local Census Bureau and EMBARC to create flyers translated in languages spoken by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and is working on translating instructional videos as well.

2020 Census Trainings

The IAA started efforts to support Census 2020 early in the year with two trainings in February for the Burmese community. These trainings were hosted in collaboration with the leaders of the Burmese community and led by Sanjita Pradhan, IAA civic engagement director. More than 250 individuals from the Burmese community attended the training to learn about the Census and register to vote with information in their native language with the help of interpreters.

It is important to engage people in underrepresented neighborhoods in their community, with face-to-face interaction if possible. Amanda Lovan, IAA civic team leader, has committed her schedule to provide information about the Census and assist with voter registration at C Fresh Market at University Ave. in Des Moines every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. every week until November.

“Making sure our communities are counted in the 2020 Census is important because it helps ensure proper funding for programs and resources,” said Lovan. “With so much happening in Iowa, we want to get the word out, answer questions about the Census and help people fill out their vote-by-mail requests.”

Bringing Census and Voter Registration Support to You

IAA is partnering with other organizations like the League of Women Voters Metropolitan Des Moines (LWVMDM) to target neighborhoods with low reporting or voter registration. LWVMDM has converted a food truck decked out with voting registration information to reach more people and offer adequate social distancing.

We are looking to add stops on the Voter Mobile’s tour of Des Moines. And while we’re at it we’ll bring our Census experts along too given help is needed in the following districts or Census Tracts:

  • Census Tract 11 (portions of Carpenter and Drake, north)
  • Census Tract 12 (portions of Carpenter, Evelyn K. Davis Park, Mondamin Presidential and Chautauqua Park)
  • Census Tract 17 (Capitol Park)
  • Census Tract 26 (Drake Park)
  • Census Tract 47 (centered by Fort Des Moines Park)
  • Census Tract 48 (Martin Luther King Jr. Park)
  • Census Tract 49 (River Bend)
  • Census Tract 50 (portions of New Visions and River Bend)
  • Census Tract 52 (Capitol East and Capitol View South)

If you know of any programs or events in these neighborhoods that would benefit from education about the census or voter registration, please contact Nu Huynh, executive director of the Iowa Asian Alliance, at nu@iowaasianalliance.com.

About the Census

The 2020 Census form can be completed in just a few minutes. Results are confidential and the form does not include information about income or citizenship.

Census results impact funding for every nonprofit, business and government organization in our community. Census data are used to determine how billions in federal funding are spent on federal food programs, from SNAP to WIC, for education and employment programs, and more.

Go to 2020Census.gov, call (844) 330-2020 or look for a paper questionnaire mailed to you by the Census Bureau. You and your family deserve to be included. Be counted.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

Tim Greene

Tim Greene is the volunteer director for Iowa Asian Alliance's CelebrAsian.