Wendy Martinez is a founder and spokesperson of the New Jersey Latino Pastors and Ministers Coalition. 

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Why Latinx Pastors Want Their Parishioners Counted in the Census

by Wendy Martinez 02-24-2020
As told to Sojourners.

A store in Union City, N.J. / Spencer Platt / Getty Images

“WHEN IT COMES to the 2020 Census, many Latino congregants say, ‘Look, I know how important this is, I know what’s at stake, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing this much information about my home.’

Right now there is no trust in government. The anti-immigrant rhetoric and action from Washington has unleashed serious fear in our community. And not just among the undocumented: If I’m a U.S. citizen and I live with someone who is still in the process of citizenship, I am not going to open that door.

That’s why churches and clergy play such an immense role: You trust your pastor, you trust the church. If they’re telling you ‘Your information is safe’ and ‘Look, I’m doing it also,’ it gives you a sense of comfort.