ADC Convention Panel: Census 2020 – The MENA Category and Looking Ahead
Washington, DC | www.adc.org
| September 12, 2017 – If you’re Arab you’ve probably been baffled when asked to check your Race in the Census or any other form and find yourself forced to check off “White.” Arabs are not Black, Hispanic, Asian, but they’re not White, either. But Middle Easterners and North Africans are lumped in as “White” in demographic categories. A 1909 ruling in a California court establishing that Arabs were eligible for naturalization as citizens because they were “from the white race” might have set the precedent, but the racial category makes no sense for present-day Arab-Americans, particularly in a diverse America where individuals take pride in proper identification and recognition.
After years of lobbying by Arab and other Middle Eastern organizations, the Census is consideration adding a MENA (Middle East/North Africa) category. Accurate Census information is not only useful in its own right, but has important public policy implications when it comes to securing voter protections, resources in public schools for non-native English speakers, and may determine the course of anti-discrimination lawsuits.
Please join us on Friday, September 22, 2017 at 11:00AM – 12:15PM for an informative panel discussion on Census 2020 – The MENA Category and Looking Ahead at the ADC National Convention.
Branch Chief, Ethnicity and Ancestry Statistic Branch, U.S. Census Bureau
Roberto Ramirez leads a research team that analyzes Census data on Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and North African demographics, which yield insight into the country’s growing diversity. A leading expert on the Hispanic population in the United States, he was a key member of the Census Bureau providing guidance for the 2010 Census Alternative Questionnaire Experiment and the 2015 National Content Test. Roberto has received the Bronze Medal Awards from the Census Bureau for his contributions to analyzing Hispanic data from both the 2000and 2010 Census.
Terry Ao Minnis
Director of Census and Voting Programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Terry Ao Minnis is a national expert on Census policy and voting rights. She co-chairs the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Census Task Force. Previously, she was a member of the U.S Department of Commerce’s 2010 Census Advisory Committee from 2002-2011. A graduate of American University’s’ Washington College of Law, Ao Minnis has authored several legal papers, including “When the Voting Rights Act Became Un-American: The Misguided Vilification of Section 203” (Alabama Law Review). She has also submitted numerous amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Shelby County v. Holder, one of the most consequential decisions on voting rights where the conservatives on the bench struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that mandated federal approval of local and state voting laws in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination.
Legislative Counsel, NALEO Educational Fund
Erin Hustings is Legislative Counsel with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes Latino participation in American politics. Throughout her career, Hustings has worked to protect civil and human rights in immigration enforcement, elections, education, and employment with numerous organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights, the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. She has also served as an Election Protection Coalition hotline and poll monitoring volunteer, a pro bono immigration attorney, and is a co-founder of the DC Detention Visitation Network, which provides support to people in immigration detention in Maryland and Virginia. Erin received her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.
Moderator by Samer Khalaf, ADC President