LatinaLista — Today, there was a memorial service for slain U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman of Kentucky.
Dr. Groves, U.S. Census director, writes on his official blog:
“Bill Sparkman was a colleague to over 6,000 field interviewers throughout the U.S. and 6,000 other staff in the central office of the Census Bureau in D.C. The job that Bill conducted for us is a key part of what is an honorable and important facet of a democracy. He and all his colleagues have the simple goal of producing information that permits the public to judge how the nation is faring. This task is the engine of an informed populace.
Murdered Census worker Bill Sparkman
“The interviews he conducted over his years as a field representative were combined with many others throughout the country. The information was summarized in key statistical information provided freely to the public about the health and welfare of the population. Through that, we as a people could make our own judgments about whether a change in direction of the country was prudent.
“Bill took an oath to keep that information confidential. That oath of confidentiality and the professionalism that he displayed in his job is the real measure of the success of the Census Bureau because it determines whether the public believes our estimates and trusts the information. Without that credibility the work of our agency has no value.
“Although we may never know for sure, it is very likely that Bill died performing his duties as a Census Bureau interviewer. In that regard, he is a hero to us, one that deserves to be remembered for his contributions to the country. We will never forget him, and we honor his memory.”
Mr. Sparkman’s death underscores the misdirected attempts being made to both leave out non-citizen immigrants from participating in the Census and encouraging all Hispanics to not participate.
While the U.S. Census dept. is making a concerted effort to reach the Latino community, it unveiled today a new web site dedicated to answering people’s questions about the census and explaining how the Census will be used to make a “Portrait of America.”
Site features include an interactive census form that provides a history
and explanation for each of the 10 questions. This form is one of the
shortest in history and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. In order to
track census progress and motivate localities, the site will include next
year a map widget that displays interactive mail back response rates.
To prove its dedication to reaching all communities, the web site will create a page about the census available in 59 languages, and by the end of 2009 will present a fully translated companion site in Spanish.