Voto Latino launches new ad campaign

By Cristina Aguirre

Voto Latino, an organization founded by actress Rosario Dawson, aims to increase American Latino youth civic participation and is encouraging them to participate in the 2010 Census through their “Be Counted” campaign. The organization has new ads, which star celebrities like “Lost” actor Jorge Garcia and “Ugly Betty” actress Ana Ortiz, and hopes they will convince Latinos to fill out the Census questionnaire and show that  government agencies won’t share their information with others.

Camilo Maya, University of Illinois at Chicago student and Voto Latino volunteer, said that he knows people who fear the Census because they are undocumented and the government might deport them if they participate, which is not the case.

“All the information is confidential, and as I was told by someone who works at the U.S. Census, it’s sealed for 75 years, nobody can get the info,” Maya said. “People shouldn’t have that fear of giving out the info. It’s important that we are notice and represented in the community and the only way we can do that is if we are counted.”

Voto Latino’s “Be Counted” campaign for the 2010 Census hopes people will answer the short questionnaire that will determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding will be spent each year on hospitals, schools, public works projects, etc. Sylvia Ortiz, the Chicago Project Manager for Voto Latino, said answering the questions is safe, easy and allows proper representation.

“You can benefit from it in the future. They ask you for your name, phone number and other questions,” Ortiz said. “Don’t feel like they are really pushing it on you or trying ot get more info. It’s not a government conspiracy, we are just out there trying to get the best information to service everyone properly.”

For more information on how you can get involved with Voto Latino and learn more about the 2010 Census, visit their Web site at