TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

U.S. Azeris Network partners with Voto Latino to launch youth-focused Census initiative

24 March 2010 [11:20] - TODAY.AZ
The U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) partners with the leading Latino youth civic engagement organization, Voto Latino, which was co-founded by the Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson, to launch the “Be Counted, Represent!” campaign.
“Be Counted, Represent!” is comprised of multi-platform web, mobile, direct and traditional media initiatives that will elevate the census in the minds of millennials, who are historically undercounted in the Census.

In the United States, census data affects everything from the allocation of federal budgets for education, health care and transportation to the drawing of Congressional districts. This year’s 2010 census is of critical importance to all Americans because it allocates $400 billion in federal funds and determines congressional representation.

“Our work with the census is to both educate Latinos about the importance of taking it and re-imaging it as a means of personal empowerment and taking ownership of one’s future and one’s family’s,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, co-founder and executive director of Voto Latino, an official US Census partner.

“What we’ve found through our work is that Latino youth are pivotal household influencers. They’re familiar with government processes, they are English-speakers and consume mainstream media, and they influence their households with everything from politics to household purchases. Empowering them to take the census is at the core of our strategy.”

“We at the U.S. Azeris Network are happy to once again partner with a leading ethnic nonprofit such as VotoLatino for this important cause. The Azerbaijani-Americans, despite being a smaller and younger ethnic community, feels itself as a great part of the American societal matrix, and wants to be accurately counted and represented on all levels of American life. That's what our community's grassroots advocacy organization, USAN, has been striving for all these years,” said Dr. Adil Baguirov, co-founder and managing director of USAN, an official US Census partner.

“As part of our outreach program, we are partnering up with the diverse ethnic communities in our adopted homeland, such as with the Japanese-Americans, Turkish-Americans, Jewish-Americans, the Asian-American and African-American communities at large, and of course, the Latino, Hispanic-American community. For the Azerbaijani-Americans being a young community in more ways than one, VotoLatino is a natural partner for us.”

In speaking to their target effectively and leveraging drive-to-web and SMS campaigns from their 2008 presidential election work as well as the best practices utilized by President Obama’s campaign, Voto Latino’s “Be Counted, Represent!” campaign is comprised of the following initiatives:

“Be Counted, Represent!” Local 
- On-the-ground Events : Voto Latino (VL) will be organizing on-the-ground events and census outreach operations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Upstate New York, Long Island and San Francisco.

- Collateral and Direct Mail Pieces : Voto Latino will distribute iTunes cards, t-shirts and other collateral materials, including direct mailers to aforementioned markets.

“Be Counted, Represent!” On the Web & Mobile
- “” – A dedicated URL, which goes live 2/2, will serve as the campaign’s hub, featuring easy-to-digest US Census information, and prompting viewers to “Take the Pledge” to participate in the census. Anyone who takes the pledge will also receive a free 25-song soundtrack courtesy of iTunes (as per below).

- “Be Counted” Viral Video PSAs – Executive produced by Voto Latino, who were acknowledged last year with a Webby award for their “La Pasión de la Decisión” get-out-the-vote PSAs, this three-part series of Internet shorts, feature a group of friends who, one night over a festive party, launch into a heated argument about whether to participate in the census. An all-star ensemble cast, featuring Rosario Dawson, Luis Guzman, Demi Lovato (Disney’s Camp Rock franchise), Ana Ortiz (“Ugly Betty”), Wilmer Valderrama (“That Seventies Show”), Jorge Garcia (“Lost”) and more, comprise of characters with opposing viewpoints. The first short will launch in February on with subsequent shorts to follow through the end of May.

- Free Digital Downloads – Apple will provide Voto Latino with 100,000 census-themed iTunes cards that will be distributed to community organizations, universities and radio stations. The cards allow recipients to download 25 free songs from major artists across a wide range of relevant musical genres, who have donated their tracks to the campaign.

- Text2Represent SMS campaign – Voto Latino will send targeted text messages to tens of thousands of U.S. Latinos to ensure that they and their families understand the importance of the Census and being counted.


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