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The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to support the inclusion of the new Middle Eastern and North African category and an Armenian checkbox for the United States Census questionnaire. Authored by board member Rocío Rivas and board vice president Scott M. Schmerelson, the resolution seeks to rectify decades of inadequate representation of the Armenian-American community caused by a lack of census data.
LAUSD is the second largest school district in the United States and serves the largest community of persons of Armenian descent outside of Armenia.
“As an immigrant of Mexican descent, I am truly heartened that our district can be an ally to Armenian-Americans who have long advocated for this vital change,” Rivas, said. “The simple fact of not being uniquely counted in the census has led to Armenian-American students being rendered invisible and therefore underserved within U.S. public schools as immigrants, refugees and English language learners.”
Schmerelson said, “I am fully in support of the inclusion of the MENA category and a specific Armenian checkbox in the US census questionnaire. This change is critical in improving the accuracy of racial and ethnic data, which is important for enforcing civil rights protections, to guide policy making and research and to accurately redraw voting districts.”
Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said the district must recognize the contributions Armenian-Armenians have made to Los Angeles County by empowering Armenian-American students.
“In making our schools more inclusive by collecting more meaningful and comprehensive data, we are meeting students where they are and elevating them to be ready for the world,” Carvalho said.
In addition to approving the motion to support the checkbox, the district formally acknowledged its support for the efforts of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region, Armenian American Action Network and other organizations that are advocating for the inclusion of the MENA category and an Armenian checkbox in the 2030 U.S. Census. The forthcoming letter to the Office of Management and Budget by Superintendent Carvalho will convey the importance of this inclusion for LAUSD’s Armenian American students and the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles.
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