Selections from “Write A Letter Home” 2010 Census Youth Fresno Campaign

Dear Family,
For many years, people of color were not counted as a full person in the United States… The Census gives everyone a voice, after so many years of our people being over-looked, it is time that we are all accounted for.  So please, participate in the Census and have your voice count.
-Maria Ortega

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Dear Mom,
Well, you may or may not know this, but the Census brings money to our city and our community based on our population count.  The federal government gives out $400 billion a year to help the states and cities create more health care facilities, and better transportation which will benefit brother since dad is always complaining about how the FAX bus system schedule is so unreliable, or how the bus doesn’t even come.
Sincerely,
-Your daughter, Graciela Garcia
P.S. – I Love You!!!!

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Mom and Dad,
When you came to this country you hoped for a better life for your family and future generations.  Your future was far from predictable; your identity, practically taken away from you.  You as individuals were non-existent to most.  The identity of the Hmong is still non-existent to many in this country, but let me tell you that your existence means the world to me, even in a world where a single individual seems so insignificant. The Census gives me some hope that myself, my family and my people will count towards something.  The Census gives a chance to show our strength in numbers.
-Zong Xiong

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Dear Mother and Father,
Don’t be frightened.  The Census lady won’t be sharing your information with anyone.  So they won’t be asking any personal questions, like if we’re citizens, or asking for our social security number.
Sincerely,
-Your daughter, Eunice Salcedo

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Dear Family,
Many people feel insecure about giving information out.  But realize that filling out the Census will benefit not only you but your community.  So, no matter if you don’t want to fill it out, know this: The Census is a gateway to money and representation for you and your community.
-Angélica Lemus

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Dear Dad,
I’m writing you this letter to inform you about the Census.  I’m not sure you know what that is… I know I didn’t until now.  It may not seem like it, but every voice counts.  I would do it myself but my voice is not enough to make a difference, so that’s why I’m asking you for your help, please.
-Love always, Andrea Mansanalez

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Dear Mom and Step-dad,
Hey guess what?  I learned something new today.  I learned about the Census… I’m writing this letter to tell you that I want you to fill out this form, because we only have the right to fill this out now.  Because before, being Black was hard because we only counted as part of a person.  So, it took about a few of us people of color to make a full person.  If you don’t do it, it will be like we don’t even exist…
-Love, Paress Wilson

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Dear Mom,
The Census is coming around again.  I remember ten years ago when I checked the mail and saw it.  Of course I could read it back then, but I had no idea what is was for.  Now, I know that it could affect my future… Maybe they’ll even fix up the bus system that’s so unreliable.  Maybe I can finally get enough money to go back to school.  Maybe it’ll help and encourage business to start hiring again, and I can get a job so I can finally be out on my own.  There’s no way of telling what the money will go to first, but all I know is that it will get there, but only if you fill out the Census.  Thanks for understanding, and if you learned anything new, PASS IT ON!
-Your Daughter, Jaleesa Vickers

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Dear Mom,
It is a time to stand up and let our voices be heard.  It worked for women, African Americans, gays, farm workers, Mexican Americans… workers not belonging to a union come together and no longer remain out of sight, out of mind.  This is a time to be recognized, as particles of dust in the air become a structure that stands out on a skyline…
-Sincerely, Marcus Vega
P.S. Don’t forget to fill out your Census application.

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Dear Mom and Dad,
I feel that you finally have the right to tell the government how Fresno needs the money that they give us, and to prove how much Fresno’s population has grown over the last ten years, and that we are in need of help.
-Love your daughter, Amelia Garrido

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Dear Grandma,
I know you have lived here more than ten years.  Have you ever filled out a Census form?  Grandma, if I ask you this, it’s because I care.  What if we don’t get counted?  It’s like we’re nobodies.  In the past, people that weren’t able to be counted wish they could’ve been, and now that we can be, it seems like nobody really notices how important it is.
With much love and respect,
-Your granddaughter, Maria Valdez

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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