JIS News

A Bill calling for Caribbean nationals to have their own ancestry category on the United States (US) Census Form for 2010, was recently introduced by Jamaican American Congresswoman, Yvette D. Clarke, of New York’s 11th Congressional District, in the House of Representatives.
The Bill calls for all questionnaires “used in the taking of any decennial census of the US population, to include a checkbox or other similar option, so that respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent.”
It was lobbied for by publisher and founder of Carib ID, Felicia Persaud, and Board members, Chuck Mohan and Irwine Clare. The objective is to get Caribbean nationals accurately counted under a more sharply defined ‘ethnic’ category on all census forms.
The new HR 2071 Bill states: “In conducting the 2010 decennial census and every decennial census thereafter, the Secretary of Commerce shall include, in any questionnaire distributed or otherwise used for the purpose of determining the total population by states, a checkbox or other similar option by which respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent.”
Ms. Persaud praised the Congresswoman and her staff for the bold and momentous move, noting that the Bill does not call for a race category, so it is not a move to divide any ethnic group, but simply to ensure that Caribbean nationals and those whose ancestry is in the Caribbean, can be accurately counted.
Congresswoman Clarke, who is the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, said that she was especially proud of the measure and saw it as a great accomplishment. “We examined the (current) form and found it to be lacking. Being specific on the Census Form, will allow the Federal Government to be able to allocate resources to communities of Caribbean nationals and their descendants,” she said.
The Bill has since been referred to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees such changes. The committee is headed by Brooklyn Congressman, Ed Towns.

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