A report from News Americas Now.
A Grenada-born immigrant is using music to help get the message of the US Census across to Caribbean immigrants, as the countdown begins to the Sept. 30th deadline of counting for the next decade.
Gerry Hopkin says his initiative is to help do something positive and remedial about the very low rate of response to the 2020 Census enrollment. Branded as products of the “Let’s All Get Counted 2020 Census Awareness Initiative,” Hopkin has released four lyrically loaded and musically engaging public service announcements to get the message of the importance of the census across to Caribbean immigrants.
The PSAs are now in Kompa, Soca, Reggae and R&B. The first two which were in the Soca and reggae genres, were released at a forum, Afterwork Networking Wednesdays in Brooklyn, on Wednesday, July 29th. Then came the R&B PSA a few days later; and last week, a message of appeal in Haitian Creole, set to sweet Kompa. The versatile and well-respected artistes involved in this project are Cheryl Vincent, aka Cheryl V, who sings the soca PSA, entitled “Get Counted;” Joan Myers, who sings a reggae PSA, “All About Us;” Dionne Blaize, who sings the R&B “This is the Way;” and Alegba Jahyile, who sings the Kompa, ” Renpli Resansman An.”
CARIB ID founder, Felicia J. Persaud, who led a 12-year effort to get Caribbean immigrants an option to write in their nationality or ancestry on census forms and count for the first time this year, applauded the effort.
“Gerry has shown brilliance and initiative in taking this baton and running with it,” said Persaud. “The census is as important as voting but sadly, not many people in our community understand this as yet. Hopefully, by using music which we as a people relate to culturally, we can get an accurate count by nationality this year to prove our numbers and our power in these United States. The power is literally in our hands.”
An undercount of Caribbean immigrants will result in major hardships and setbacks that could occur in the form of significant underfunding of local community programs in education, healthcare, housing, road and bridge maintenance and general infrastructural development – all of which are needed to in order for states and cities to take care of their most vulnerable citizens and residents.
A community’s failure to be fully enrolled, can also result in redistricting and loss of representation in government.
To complete the Census, log on to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, or call 800-932-8282 or answer the door to a census taker.