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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Kurdish Americans and the Census

Yara Ismael at Rudaw:
The number of Kurds in the US, their geographical distribution, family size, political leanings, health, and education needs are all unknown. Some estimate Nashville, Tennessee alone has at least 15,000 Kurds. However, the Kurds were so severely undercounted that the reported number in the entire nation was just 20,000 in 2015.

Conducted every ten years, the census is perceived by some as a mere demographic survey. But its potential could resolve issues of representation and funding for our Kurdish community.

In the US, the census is the most powerful forgotten democratic tool that can empower entire communities and dictate the flow of power. It has profound implications for our underserved community’s everyday lives. Considering the severe lack of political representation and social mobilization, the benefits of ameliorating this could be reaped even in Kurdistan.

That is why community leaders from different Kurdish backgrounds launched a campaign to ensure our community is better represented in this year’s census.

The Kurds Count campaign has suffered setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, limiting its outreach to encourage our community to complete their census. Yet, for the same reason, our reliance on social media allowed the campaign to evolve into one that is nationally united.