By Oromsis Adula*
Your campaign to correct the mistake in the Census Bureau’s computer database that errorneously reffered to the great Oromo nation with a derogatory term has paid off. According to an email update recieved by Opride.com, “a Manager at the Minnesota/St. Paul Census Bureau have negotiated a partnership agreement” with the director of the Oromo Community of Minnesota (OCM). Per the agreement, “starting March30, 2010, the Oromo community Center will be a QAC (Questionnaire Assistance Center) for Oromo people residing in the St. Paul area.”
Under the agreement, “two Oromo speaking staff will be assigned by the Saint Paul based Census Office at the OCM for 15 hours per week until April 19, 2010 to help interpret/translate for Oromos while they fill the Census form.” In addition, the email states, “the Oromo Community Center have also partnered with the census office in providing space for four days during April 27 – 30, 2010, for training census enumerators, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.”
With regard to the use of a derogatory term in reference to Oromo people, OCM reports that, “the Bureau’s St. Paul office has sent an internal memo to the National Census Office for a speedy correction to be made.” In another email, Arfasse Oromiyaa who has been actively campaigning for Oromos to “BE COUNTED” reports that an officical with the US Census Bureau has informed her “that the database has been changed to identifying us [Oromo People] as OROMOS”. The official with whom she spoke, “did not have any more information in regards to the origin of the mistake, but stated he triple checked that the corrections had been made and apologized profusely.”
We thank all those who took their time to make the important phone call to get the mistake corrected, the Census Bureau for making the very important correction quickly and the Oromo Community of Minnesota for their leadership on the issue. This has affirmed the need for Oromos everywhere to remain vigilant at all times to be recognized.
Apart from being April fool’s day, the 1st of April has been an officially designated “Census Day” in the United States since 1930. It is a benchmark day for the nation’s population count. In observance of the Census Day, the Bureau has issued a press release stating that it “will continue to accept 2010 Census questionnaires by mail through mid-April. Beginning May 1, census workers will begin going door to door to households that failed to mail back their forms — a massive operation that costs taxpayers an average of $57 per household versus the 42 cents it takes to get a response back by mail.”
We call on Oromo Radio and Community organizations to move swiftly in translating the Census pamphlets to Afan Oromo. This will help educate the growing number of Oromo immigrants about the census and the benefits of getting “COUNTED”. While it is crucial to act quickly in times of crisis, it is equally important to do our homework ahead of time.
Please refer to Opride video below for step – by- step guide on how to fill out your census form.
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