El Concilio, a community nonprofit, launched a census-themed video challenge for students in and around Stockton in May, and a student at Poet-Christian School is among the contestants.
The challenge was to make a short video, 30 seconds to 2 minutes long, to explain why the census matters and motivate people to respond.
Carlos Melendez, 11, who lives in Tracy and attends Poet-Christian School, made his own video about the census and posted it on his YouTube channel back in April.
In his video, Carlos focuses on how funding for schools for the next 10 years will be based on this census count. He points out that before the next census, he will have finished middle school, graduated from high school and started college.
“Every 10 years we have an opportunity to update how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flows into communities, every year for the next decade. So that’s why it’s very important to do it now,” he says in the video. “If everybody counted, children like me will help support us and have resources to shape the future of education.”
His mother, Julia Melendez, said her son is passionate about his community.
“He wants every child to have equal opportunities for education,” she wrote in an email. “Most of our family members live in south Stockton and Carlos has noticed the differences between Schools from that area compared to other schools.”
People can find links to the videos made by Carlos and the other contestants on El Concilio’s website. Two videos have won awards so far: Miniya Joy’s was chosen as the best overall, and Aramis Colon’s was declared most creative.
The third and final $1,000 prize will go to the contestant whose video gets the most views by the end of June. As of Thursday, Carlos’ video had more than 2,500 views, trailing behind one other video.
Ines Ruiz-Houston, El Concilio’s vice president of special programs and operations, said the video contest was one part of an ongoing effort to encourage everyone to participate in the census. The organizers hoped young people would talk with their parents about why they should respond and be counted.
El Concilio was founded in 1968 to support civil rights for migrant workers. It now serves Central Valley families from all cultural backgrounds through community centers, preschools, behavioral health and wellness centers, and job readiness and immigration services. The Tracy office at 95 W. 11th St., Ste. 104, can be reached at 820-5900.
The 2020 census is still going on. Anyone who hasn’t replied yet can be counted by going to 2020census.gov or calling 844-330-2020. The census takes about 10 minutes to complete.