A Dearborn community leader will play in integral role in assuring that the U.S. Census moves toward greater accuracy in counting the nation’s minorities–especially Arab Americans.
Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Dearborn nonprofit , has been appointed to a three-year term to the Census Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. U.S. Census Director Robert Groves announced the appointment earlier this month.
Jaber’s involvement in the census spans nearly two decades, he said, “mostly on a local level in terms of making sure that the Detroit community and Arab American community do participate in the census.”
Now, the Census Bureau will tap further into Jaber’s expertise in exploring how to best serve and count the Arab American community.
Formed in March 2012, The Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations advises the director of the Census Bureau on a wide range of programs and activities. Committee members provide race, ethnic, and other population expertise as it relates the Census Bureau’s programs and surveys, including the decennial census.
Groves said Jaber’s expertise and experience serving the Arab population through ACCESS “will greatly benefit the Census Bureau as it explores new, more sustainable methodologies and innovations to collect statistics, particularly from hard to count populations.”
The census has no separate category for Arab Americans, who are officially counted as “white.” That prompted some Arab American groups to encourage a write-in campaign on the 2010 census forms in an effort to better reflect the number of Americans with Arab ancestry.
Jaber said the proper “counting” of Arab Americans would help organizations like ACCESS to better serve the community.
“If we have the information about Arab Americans and other minorities, we can do a better job planning–from economic to health to youth issues to what to expect in terms of federal investment in the community,” he explained. “I think we can serve the community better and we can also target our recourses better.”
Jaber added that he truly believes that the Census Bureau wants to work toward accurately counting Arab Americans, as well as encouraging minority and immigrant communities to participate in and trust the mission of the census.
“My hope is that we have room to include Arab Americans in the census,” he said. “My hope also is that we improve the count for Detroit and our region, and that the hard to serve immigrant community are aware and confident about their participation in the census.
“We need to make the census a process not something we do every 10 years, but it’s a living thing.”