Steve Shay
A representative of the United States 2010 Census, Marcel Maddox, met with members of Delta Upsilon Omega, the Seattle chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority March 6 to ask them and other invited guests as part of a community outreach program to spread the word through the African American community the importance of participating. Pictured left to right are: Leslyn Jones Petitt with human resources, Seattle Public Schools, Chanda Oatis, Denny Middle School Assistant Principal, Marcel Maddox of the Census, Leona Dotson, President of Delta Upsilon Omega with Microsoft, Carol Coram, Arbor Heights Elementary School Principal and Gwendolyn Jimerson, Family Service Provider for Head Start at West Seattle Elementary School, .

West Seattle African American educators spread word to fill out Census

A representative of the United States 2010 Census, Marcel Maddox, met with members of Delta Upsilon Omega, the Seattle chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority March 6 to ask them and other invited guests as part of a community outreach program to spread the word through the African American community the importance of participating.

Alpha Kappa Alpha was America’s first African American sorority, founded in 1908, with its roots in Howard University, Washington, D.C. The meeting took place at Starbucks’ Corporate headquarters.

Several Delta Upsilon Omega members are West Seattle-based educators. Among those attending were Denny Middle School Assistant Principal Chanda Oatis, Arbor Heights Elementary School Principal Carol Coram, and Family Service Provider for Head Start at West Seattle Elementary School, Gwendolyn Jimerson.

“The role of partnership is to proactively share the message to participate in the 2010 Census so that folks feel enfranchised,” said Maddox, a former West Seattle resident who served with the United States Coast Guard. He said he would ride his bicycle from his West Seattle home to the Coast Guard Base at Pier 36.

Maddox suggested that some members of the African American, and immigrant, communities might shy away from filling out the 10-question form, due April 1.

“We want those participating today to minimize that sentiment and empower folks in those communities to fill it out,” he said. “Some have felt that the data is not confidential or that the data is somehow used against them. This is not so. It’s to help you. It’s often the folks who need to be counted the most who feel this way, and that’s one of the challenges we face.”

According to brochures Maddox provided, every year the Federal Government allocates over $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data. The data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts. The information also determines locations for retail stores, schools, hospitals, new housing developments and other community facilities.

“The majority of (Maddox’s) presentation was about our community and other communities’ diverse needs, and the concern that we may be underrepresented,” said Oatis. “Different languages are spoken in communities and some don’t understand (the questionnaire.) Some are fearful to be counted in Washington, and this is an issue.”

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