Normally people come from their homes to sit along a route to watch a parade, but on June 26 in Denison, a parade will bring its message to the people, and that message is to make sure they are counted in the 2020 Census.
The 2020 Census Drive-Thru Parade is being organized by the Denison council of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
The local LULAC council’s special event permit application is among the items on this evening’s Denison City Council Meeting (see agenda on this website under Local News).
Alma Puga, president of the Denison LULAC council, said she saw articles about 2020 Census parades being conducted in other cities and thought it was a good idea to bring to the local LULAC members. The members agreed that the parade is something that should be done in Denison.
“Obviously, I feel it’s very important to do this because many of our community members, especially those that are non-English speakers, are scared or afraid or are not aware of the census,” said Puga.
She said seeing people promote the census will help raise awareness and allay fears.
“Especially if our leaders are there, the mayor, and people recognizing our faces and knowing that we filled out the census information, it will motivate them to fill it out,” Puga added.
She added that focus on other news this year is another reason it is important to promote the census through the parade.
“With COVID and the protests, it gets lot in the news of the day,” Puga explained. “We want to show the importance that every 10 years, the census greatly impacts our community in funding.”
Information in the special event permit application speaks to the importance of the census in funding local services.
“Entities like our local government and school system depend on funds from the state and federal governments, funding levels that are determined by the complete rate of the U.S. Census,” the application says. “An accurate count of local residents, both in Denison and countywide, ensures adequate financial support, especially for services provided to our minority and non-English speaking residents.”
The 2020 Census Drive-Thru Parade will be for vehicles only, which will be decorated with U.S. Census signage and information.
Because of COVID-19 mitigation measures, no candy or other objects will be tossed from vehicles.
Puga did say that Mayor Pam Soseman, who is the head of Denison’s Complete Count committee, has some Census bags containing information that LULAC can hand to people. These bags were to be given out during parent-teacher conferences at the schools this spring, but the conferences did not take place as in-session school was closed beginning March 16.
The special event permit application lists two parade routes, both starting on 1st Avenue North behind Hy-Vee. Route 1 will loop through the neighborhoods north of Hy-Vee and Route 2 will loop through neighborhoods south of Hy-Vee, both going as far west as 7th Street and as far east as 20th or 24th Street.
Information on the application says if time permits, the parade will travel on both routes.
“Obviously, we’re not going to be able to cover every inch of Denison, but we felt it was good to cover those streets. They are easier to travel down, an easier path,” said Puga.
The application also says that Denison Police Chief Dan Schaffer is supporting the event with uniformed officers taking part.
Participants will register with LULAC Denison members prior to the parade. The LULAC Denison members will review the signage of each entry and go over the route with participants before the parade starts.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and last until 7:30 or 8 p.m.
See more details and a description of the route online at www.DBRnews.com and in future issues as the parade date approaches.