Building power through civic engagement and the 2010 Census

Voice of Vietnamese Americans (VVA) was established in Virginia in 2009 to empower Vietnamese Americans “by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building.” VVA is now turning its attention to the 2010 Census.
VVA is hoping to build a network of individuals and organizations through participation in the census that can be leveraged into a longer-lasting coalition for change and community empowerment. In line with the Southern Echo model and viewing the 2010 Census as just one of many tools in the civic engagement process, VVA is working toward the greater goal of building grassroots power and mobilization.
The organization’s broad targeted public is Vietnamese Americans who do not speak English; this group includes senior citizens living in group homes and new-comers living in apartments and rental properties. All of these groups are historically hard to count. By working with community and religious leaders, as well as students and Census Bureau partnership specialists, VVA aims to raise awareness through strategic communications and individual outreach.
For VVA, the census is not just a one-time event but is a movement connected to broader social justice goals.