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Letter to the Observer: Answer the Census

Editor:

It is a busy time for many families.

Although school is back in session, we are floating in uncharted waters. The challenges and opportunities with online learning are vast.

At the Los Alamos National Laboratories Foundation, we are doing what we can to support teachers and students to make the best of not being together in person. There have been incredible strides made by our teachers over the summer in learning how to teach online well and how to best engage students.

Sitting in on our first-ever Institute for Inquiry Science program online teacher’s training, I was struck by how engaged and excited teachers were to adapt to teaching online. They were inspiring!

Teachers, families and students are anxious, but we will get through this time together. If you know any teachers, give them a special thanks for what they are doing.

As schools adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, so does the 2020 Census. New Mexico is at risk of a significant undercount in the 2020 Census and we need your help.

Due to last-minute changes by the U.S. Census Bureau, our residents’ right to be counted is in jeopardy. Most recently, the bureau shortened the deadline to participate in the 2020 Census to Sept. 30 — a full month earlier than planned — because of difficulties and restrictions due to COVID-19.

While we urged the Census Bureau to return to the original extended deadline — alongside 500 other foundations nationwide — we are proactively doing everything we can to make sure that everyone in New Mexico is counted before Sept. 30.

Right now, New Mexico is in danger of losing more than $3 billion over the next 10 years based on current response rates. A census undercount means cuts for Title I schools and school food programs, cuts for firefighters and first responders, less road funding and reduced access to health care for the next 10 years.

It also fundamentally changes our political representation. It is critical that all of our voices are heard and that our communities get the funding they deserve.

We are rural and urban. We are parents and children. We are diverse. We are mixed-status. We are essential.

We are New Mexico, and we will be counted.

Stay cool!

Jenny Parks

President and CEO, LANL Foundation

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