Press Release Summary: As Caribbean Americans we are virtually invisible to the U.S. Census Bureau. Felicia Persaud, founder of CaribWorldNews and Hard Beat Communications is teaming up with CBean Media.tv and several organizations, political leaders, community leaders, entertainers, media owners and individuals across the U.S. to launch `CaribID 2010,` a campaign to simply and forcefully urge the U.S. Census to allow Caribbean nationals/West Indians to be counted as an origin category on the Census form to ensure this important bloc is counted accurately.
Press Release Body: Right now CaribID is in the arduous process of getting a congressional bill introduced in the House to call officially for the category. This will ensure that Caribbean nationals can finally be able to tell our story in numbers and be given the credit we truly deserve.
The call to action is for every Caribbean national in this the United States to STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. This means that every national will be sought to become the ambassador in getting the message out and ensuring our voices are raised in unison.
This historic initiative from Hard Beat is a concerted focused effort and its not about the ego of any one group, association or individual. This is about the big picture and the big goal of getting Caribbean Americans counted where it matters in getting recognition politically and being viewed as the economic power they are.
The census of everyone living in America takes place every ten years as mandated in the U.S. Constitution at its very inception. Unfortunately the U.S. Constitution does not provide detailed instructions for conducting these U.S. Census every ten years. The details are left to the government and specifically the U.S. Census Bureau. On the form everyone will be mailed in 2010 there will be 16 different ways to self-identify racially and ethnically but no category for Caribbean Americans and West Indians men and women to identify who they and their families really are.
Caribbean Americans and West Indians are forced to choose between checking the box mis-identifying themselves as either African American, Asian American or Hispanic or simply as other. That simply is unfair and Un-American.
Of course its not going to be an overnight thing but were going to start a long over due movement and stay the course and get this done as a representative group for us and our children and their children.
So that like Asians, Hispanics and African Americans we too can be truly counted and our strength measured.
For we have no other identifying factor but West Indian since we are a huge ethnic melting pot of ethnicities and like the people of Guam and Hawaii, we too need our very own Census category. Every Caribbean national, community leaders, entertainer, student, church leader and the media across the Caribbean American landscape are urged to join this movement as ambassadors to bring awareness to this issue under the `CaribID 2010` campaign and to say simply and forcefully: Stand Up & Be Counted. The Census data directly affect how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and much more.` The census is also used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to redistrict state legislatures while census data are used to define legislature districts, school district assignment areas and other important functional areas of government. The census is like a snapshot that helps define who we are as a nation. Data about changes in your community are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to provide services for the elderly, where to build new roads and schools, or where to locate job training centers. Caribbean nationals are urged to register their support by joining the movement at www.caribid2010.com.
For more register at: www.caribid2010.com.
WHY CARIB ID?
While there are several different ways an individual could self identify themselves on the Census form, including, for example Samoan those of us who identify ourselves proudly as West Indian or Caribbean cannot.
They are currently forced to fit themselves into other categories African American, Asian American or written in, in the OTHER box even though Caribbean nationals come from a multi-ethnic region where the only common self-indentifying denominator is `Caribbean` or `West Indian.`
Currently, West Indians, a largely English speaking immigrant group, are generally classified as black by U.S. standards even though there are Indo-Caribbeans as well as those who of Caucasian, Chinese, Portuguese, Amerindians and of course those of mixed heritage.
We define "West Indian" to include all people born or descended from those born in the Anglophone, Dutch and French Caribbean, especially Caricom member nations. So how many Caribbeans live here is impossible to tell, since they alternately refer to themselves as Asian, black or simply "other" on the census forms. In any case, their numbers are far greater and their impact obvious in states all across the U.S. from the 1600s to now as a huge part of the economically viable immigrant community.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT CARIBBEAN NATIONALS/WEST INDIANS NATIONWIDE
The Caribbean born accounted for conservatively 10 percent of the total US foreign-born population in 2000 that is less than 3 million of those who wrote in that self-identifying option on the Census form and not those who simply ticked African American or Asian American. In 2000, of the 31.1 million foreign born in the United States, about 2,953,066 (9.5 percent) were born in Caribbean countries.
West Indian immigrants tend to define themselves this way, even if they would not all use the term "West Indian." They also tend to differentiate themselves from both Hispanic Caribbeans and Haitians. They share an "Afro-Creole" culture as well as a heritage of British colonialism. Many parents of today's second generation came from places that were politically united at the time of their immigration, even if they are now separate nations. In New York, they live in the same neighborhoods, share similar niches in the occupational structure, and intermarry. Taken together, West Indians are the largest immigrant group in New York.
Slightly over half of the Caribbean born were women. The Caribbean-born population in the United States experienced slower growth between 1990 and 2000 than the overall foreign-born population. Immigrants born in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti accounted for most of the increase in the numbers of the Caribbean born between 1960 and 2000. Of the Caribbean born living in the United States in 2000, just under two-thirds arrived after 1980. The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti accounted for the largest number of arrivals between 1990 and 2000. The Caribbean-born groups with the largest percentage of recent migrants were from Guadeloupe, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas. In fiscal year (FY) 2005, 108,469 Caribbean-born persons became lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States. In FY 2005, 30,370 Caribbean-born persons entered the United States on nonimmigrant visas, most on temporary worker or student visas. Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California were the top five states in which the Caribbean born resided in 2000. The Caribbean born composed at least 15 percent of the foreign-born populations of Florida, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. The Caribbean born were more likely to be citizens than the foreign-born population in general. The Caribbean born were slightly older than the overall foreign-born population. Two-thirds of the Caribbean born spoke a language other than English at home. Just under two-thirds of the Caribbean born who spoke a language other than English at home spoke English less than "very well." Over 60 percent of the Caribbean born had a high school or higher degree. Under one-sixth of the Caribbean born had a college education. The Caribbean born were as likely to participate in the labor force as the overall foreign-born population. The Caribbean born were more likely to be unemployed than the foreign born in general. The Caribbean born were concentrated in sales or office and service occupations. Caribbean men from Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and Anguilla had the highest median earnings. Caribbean women from Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands Antilles had the highest median earnings. About one-fifth of Caribbean-born individuals lived in poverty. About 46 percent of Caribbean-born householders owned their own home.
Nationally, they can be found from Schenectady, in upstate New York to Seattle and even West Virginia. Caribbean Americans are flocking to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, California, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Florida cities, such as West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Tampa, and Orlando. Black Diversity Study, Aug. 2003 (University at Albany, State University of New York)
Caribbeans are enthusiastically becoming a sizable portion of Americas middle-class voting population. Black Diversity Study, Aug. 2003 (University at Albany, State University of New York)
The community is credited with contributing approximately $1.6 billion in remittances to economies in the Caribbean region each year. IADB Study, 2002
In New York City, Caribbean Americans make up almost 25 percent of the population, and their numbers are growing in the citys suburbs with sizable communities in Westchester County, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. U.S. Census 2000.
A large percentage about 73 to 75 percent spend a significant amount of time reading Caribbean newspapers and magazines, listening to Caribbean-oriented radio and watching Caribbean-oriented television. Caribbean Communications Study for AT&T (1996).
And most significantly, an AT&T study found that Caribbeans responded at the high rate of 72 percent when communicated to as a person of Caribbean Heritage rather than an African American or a person in the general market.
Caribbean Americans are better loyal buyers of consumer goods who are vacationing, owning homes, and sending their children to college at a higher rate than the African American population. Black Diversity Study, Aug. 2003 (University at Albany, State University of New York)
AIM OF CAMPAIGN: To focus on the root of the problem that has affected us whether its the multi -billion dollar U.S. advertising and marketing industry or on the social and political spectrum the fact that there is no accurate count of Caribbean nationals and hence no recognition on the issues that matter economic, social and political.
There is only one way to correct this omission and happily it is simple and straight forward. Legislation introduced that need be literally no more than one sentence long that will require the Census to add the word West Indian or Non-Hispanic Caribbean to the question about national and ethnic origin/identity.
We are prepared to do the heavy lifting as required if you will only at once introduce the requited bill in Congress before our window of opportunity closes soon. Several Caribbean organizations, individuals and media houses have already endorsed this project and are coming together to lobby for it and begin the push to get ourselves truly counted as a bloc in the United States.