Filipinos need to fill out the census – this is why

Commission on Human Rights Chair Malalis: ‘Our Bayanihan depends on it.’

By Carmelyn Malalis, Chairperson & Commissioner, NYC Commission on Human Rights

My name is Carmelyn Malalis, and I am the Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. I am a mother, a wife, and a daughter. I am a proud Filipina. And I want you to fill out the census.

The census comes out every 10 years and acts as a method of counting the number of people in the United States, allows for the collection of demographic information, and helps the government determine where to direct its resources. You may have received a form at your home, or even had someone knock on your door. This year it is more important than ever that everyone complete the census, and here’s why:

COVID-19 has torn through communities, leaving a wake of economic destruction, and is killing Asian people in the United States at a rate four times that of the general population. Filipinos in particular are being hit extremely hard – experiencing a 40 percent mortality rate when infected with COVID-19 as opposed to 3.7 percent of the general population. Filipinos also represent one of the highest percentages of frontline workers, accounting for anywhere between 4 percent to 20 percent of nurses, depending on the state. COVID-19 has also given rise to anti-Asian discrimination, bias, and hate crimes. Asian businesses saw a 50 percent drop in business before a single city or state shut down, due exclusively to racist and misinformed notions that Asian communities were to blame for the outbreak.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights was fielding so many complaints of discrimination related to COVID-19 that we launched a dedicated unit just to handle the influx and respond quickly. We created programming and outreach in multiple languages, including Tagalog, to ensure our communities know that their rights will be protected during this unprecedented time.

This is why it is so important that our communities are counted in this census. We cannot ignore the injustices and inequality plaguing Black, Latinx, Asian, and immigrant communities. It is imperative that the United States government count all of us, and that we receive the federal dollars our communities deserve. We must be counted so that our kids’ schools stay funded. We must be counted so that essential services reach our most vulnerable neighbors. And, we must be counted to ensure balanced representation in the halls of Congress.

That can only happen if all of us fill out the census.

We know that there are those in the nation’s capital who don’t want you to fill out the census, depriving us of resources and representation.  But if I know anything about Filipinos, it is that we are proud to stand up for our community. We are proud to fight to get what we need to raise our families in healthy, thriving environments. Filipinos contribute so much to the beautiful tapestry that is the United States, and we deserve to be counted. Fill out your census before the September 30th deadline. The census is a few simple questions and it is safe and confidential. You can fill out the form in Tagalog at or you can call  844-478-2020 to answer the census in Tagalog. 

Everyone, citizen and non-citizen alike, is entitled to complete the Census with peace of mind. Fill it out today and tell five members of your family to do the same.  

Our bayanihan depends on it.

© The FilAm 2020

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: