May 16, 2008

Dominican American Leadership Organization Honors Whitehouse

Rhode Island Senator Recognized for Efforts to Allow Dominicans to Register Their Identity During the 2010 Census

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Hispanic Task Force, was honored by the Dominican American National Roundtable this week at its 6th Annual “Dominicans on the Hill Day.” Whitehouse was recognized for his efforts to push the Census Bureau to allow Dominicans to register their identity during the 2010 Census.

“In Rhode Island we are proud of the great contributions Dominicans have made to our economy and our culture,” Whitehouse said. “This vibrant community should have the same opportunity afforded members of other Hispanic national origin groups to have the size and strength of their community officially recognized.”

In January, Whitehouse asked the Census Bureau to acknowledge the growing influence of Dominicans in America by allowing them to register their identity during the 2010 Census.

“While previous census forms have included individual identity boxes for Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans, there has been no such box for Dominicans,” Whitehouse wrote. “Instead, Dominicans have had to, by process of elimination, check the ‘another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin’ box.” Director Murdock has since met directly with Dominican leaders to discuss their concerns.

No accurate count of the national Dominican-American population has ever been taken, though its size is thought to be between 1.2 to 1.5 million – close to, or possibly even more than, the number of Cuban-Americans, a group that has been recognized with an individual identity box on previous Census forms.

Whitehouse suggested that the Census Bureau “consider adding a box marked ‘Dominican’ to the Hispanic identity portions of your forms for the 2010 Census. If you determine that this is not feasible, please explain why a simple box cannot be added to these forms a full two years before they will be used.”

The Dominican American National Roundtable works to bring together people of Dominican heritage from around the country in order to advance the shared interests of the Dominican-American community. The group’s annual “Dominicans on the Hill Day” is an opportunity for members to discuss issues of importance in their communities with government officials in Washington.


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