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Multimedia campaign urges Latino youth to participate in the U.S. Census

March 10, 2010 |  4:39 pm

Community leaders and celebrities announced a new multimedia campaign in Los Angeles on Wednesday aimed at getting young Latinos to participate in the U.S. Census.

During the news conference at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, speakers invited students to download an interactive mobile application, to participate in a texting campaign (text “LA” to 738674) and to spread the word to family and friends about the importance of the census.

“Your voice literally does matter,” actress Rosario Dawson told students in the campus library. “You have the right to live with dignity in your communities. This is the opportunity to fight for that.”

Dawson and actor Wilmer Valderrama joined leaders of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Voto Latino and the California Community Foundation to show public service announcements and hand out census-themed I-tunes cards to students.

Throughout the month, the community groups will visit schools in hard-to-count neighborhoods of the county to talk about the census and the multimedia campaign.

Los Angeles County stands to lose more than $11,000 per uncounted person, California Community Foundation President Antonia Hernandez said. She urged the students to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to start a conversation about the census and how the federal funds will affect their neighborhoods.

“Your task as youth is to use your fingers and start texting your friends,” she said.

One student, Kevin Menendez, 17, who immigrated to the U.S. in 2007, said he learned about the census in his government class. Then he got the letter from the U.S. Census Bureau this week.

“I told my aunt that we had to do it,” Menendez said. “I really want my family to be counted.”  

-- Anna Gorman