March 19, 2010 —
Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer of unicefusa.org.
It’s census time. Every ten years, the government wants a head count and they’re relying on us to make it accurate. And while some of us look at the trifold form with a certain curiosity (they want my phone number so that they can call if they don’t understand one of my answers? really?); there are plenty of Americans who bristle at the notion of the government taking notes on their age, sex, race, or habit of “sometimes staying at a second residence.”
Now, while the government’s respect for individual privacy is not something to mock, the importance of universal documentation as a tool for social protection is also no laughing matter.
So today’s video pokes some fun at the census bashers, turning the complaint that the count has racist or Anti-American motivations on its head. The fact that Stephen Colbert manages to get the U.S. Fund in on the joke makes the clip all the more relevent.
For sixty years, UNICEF has been advancing the condition of children all over the world, independent of race, family status or citizenship. Indeed, ensuring that a child is COUNTED from his first day in the world is a prerequisite for guaranteeing a child’s many other rights: to medical care, to an education and to legal protection.
Still, one in three developing countries fail to register at least half of their newborns. Some 50 million births go unregistered every year. That’s 50 million marginalized children.
They lack the documentation that could protect them from child labor, early marriage, underage conscription or human trafficking. From Paraguay to Gambia to Bangladesh, UNICEF is working hard to make governments more accountable to their youngest constituents.
And we’re proud of that.
So when you see the bold letters on your census envelope declaring that YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW, please think of your children and understand – that’s how it should be.
See whole post »