Michigan could lose another Congressional seat, a reduction in the number of electoral college votes and federal funding if the 2020 census is inaccurate.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Wayne County CEO Warren Evans, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and publishers of the region’s biggest ethnic newspapers gathered at Wayne State University for the 2019 Minority Media July 24.
The event aimed to educate ethnic media representatives and publications on the upcoming 2020 Census, during which billions of dollars and Congressional seats will be at stake.
“Everything from education to, yes — the roads — is impacted by the dollars we draw into the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said.
She referenced the Census count, which will determine the federal funds Michigan receives in the coming years.
“What I learned from knocking on doors all those years ago was that people respond to who they trust,” Duggan said.
The Detroit mayor also emphasized the importance of ethnic media for building trust in the 2020 Census to ensure as many Metro Detroit and Michigan residents are counted as possible.
The event was moderated by Dr. Hayg Oshagan, the executive director of New Michigan Media (NMM), a network of ethnic and minority media outlets within the state.
Dr. Oshagan noted how important it was for minority media to work together to have a louder voice. He thanked the Michigan Nonprofit Association for partnering with NMM to make this event possible.
Panelists included Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, Tack-Yong Kim, publisher of Michigan Korean Weekly, Donna Murray-Brown, President & CEO of Michigan Nonprofit Association, Arthur Horwitz, publisher of Detroit Jewish News, Elias Gutierrez, publisher of Latino Press, State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez and Detroit City Director of Immigrant Affairs Roberto Torres.
The publishers and other media representatives from more than 40 ethnic and minority media outlets in southeast Michigan discussed how best to reach their individual communities and how to combat the growing fear of repercussion felt in minority communities since the beginning of the Trump administration. The event included representation from the Yemeni, Filipino, African American, Latino, Arab-American, Jewish, Native American, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Japanese, Polish, Korean, Indian, Armenian, Vietnamese, and Albanian communities.
Gutierrez, Siblani and others said restoring trust is a major challenge.
“People in this country believe in their government relatively speaking compared to other countries. However, in recent years, this trust has been shaken, sometimes destroyed,” Siblani said about the Arab American community.
Michigan stands to lose another Congressional seat and a reduction in the number of electoral college votes if its population is not properly counted in 2020. It could also lose $1,800 per person per year of federal funding to support programs that use Census data.
Census data will be used by officials to distribute funds for Medicare, Medicaid, education, infrastructure, free school lunch programs, children, housing and more.