On Saturday, crowds gathered at Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park to see traditional Central American dance and a mariachi band as part of a march and fair to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and to boost census response rates.

The event, led by State Senator Julia Salazar, started at Maria Hernandez Park and went to Irving Square Park before reaching the fair at Highland Park, where there was food, dancing and free PPE, and where more than 200 people completed the census.

Senator Salazar said the event was held to raise awareness about the importance of filling out the census and to assure neighbors completing the census was a completely safe and easy process.

Senator Julia Salazar. Photo: Ramon Pebenito.

“In the past, New York’s immigrant communities have been undercounted in the census, putting our neighborhoods at risk of receiving fewer resources, less funding, and less government representation than we deserve,” she said.

“With so much at stake this year, given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these same communities, it’s crucial that we count as many New Yorkers as possible in the census.”

Salazar said the event was also to inform residents of the immigration resources available to them through community organizations and elected officials. In a release, Salazar said the Latinx and immigrant community had been hit hard by the pandemic, economic recession and hostile immigration policies.

“Immigrants are understandably weary of filling out the census due to the repeated attacks from President Trump attempting to add a citizenship question. We want to make it clear that the information they provide is protected by law and there is no citizenship question.” she said in the release.

The final day to complete the 2020 Census is Monday, October 5. To complete the census click here.

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