Garifuna and the US Census
The following is a letter from Cheryl Norales relating to Garifuna and the US Census. If you know Garifuna residing in the US you might consider forwarding this to them.
Mabuiga! As you may know, every ten years the United States conducts a nationwide census which is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of its population.
You will be receiving the United States Census questionnaire in March 2010 either by U.S. mail or hand delivery. Everyone living in the U.S. must be counted citizens, non-citizens, resident or illegal-resident/alien. I have included the USA Government link of the 2010 Census for you to review at the bottom of this
Please, pay close attention to questions #8 and #9 in the section labeled as “Person 1”. Person 1 is the person identified as the head of household who is completing the questionnaire. Also, pay close attention to questions #5 and #6 in the proceeding sections “Person 2” and so on. Person 2 is the person identified as a person related to person 1. Please be aware that in question #9 (Person 1) and question #6 (Person 2 and so forth) you have the option to mark the box "Some other race" and write in your race (Garifuna). This information may be useful for those people who want to identify themselves and their children as Garifuna.
Why is this important? For many years people have been estimating how many Garinagu actually live in the United States and there has yet to be an accurate count of Garinagu living in this country. The unofficial estimated Garifuna population in the U.S. has been between 200,000-300,000. I do not know how those numbers were determined when we have never been counted as a people in this country. In the past, we have been told that if we are from a Spanish-speaking country, we should count ourselves as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish. If we are from an English- speaking country, we should count ourselves as Black, African-American or Negro.
In my opinion, this is wrong because we need to be counted as who we are; Garinagu. If you identify yourself as Afro-American or Afro-Latino your options are clear. We, Garinagu, do not have any political agenda or special interest to be counted or identified as something that we are not for the benefit of the African-American or Afro-Latino population. This information is intended for those people who want to identify themselves as GARIFUNA and be counted as a GARIFUNA in the 2010 Census so we may finally have an accurate count of how many Garinagu actually live here in the United States. If we are not counted as Garifuna in the 2010 Census, we will continue to be an invisible race living in the shadows of others who want to define us by their own image and history.
#8: Is person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
#9: What is person 1's race?
#5: Is person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
#6: What is person 1's race?