Saturday, November 17, 2012

An introduction

In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau put out a call for volunteers to serve on their newly forming National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations*.  The NAC's purpose is,

"[to] advise the Census Bureau on a wide range of variables that affect the cost, accuracy and implementation of the Census Bureau“s programs and surveys, including the once-a-decade census. The committee, which is comprised of 32 members from multiple disciplines, will advise the Census Bureau on topics such as housing, children, youth, poverty, privacy, race and ethnicity, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other populations." (from the 2012 press release)

The NAC is enabled by the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which allows Federal agencies to organize Advisory Committees to provide non-binding advice to those agencies.  The NAC is a new configuration that draws on the Census Bureau's previous set of Racial & Ethnic Advisory Committees (REACs).  Of the 32 people who serve on the NAC, 15 are former members of the REACs, with three members of each REAC grandparented onto the NAC.

My name is Eric Hamako.  In 2012, a coalition of Mixed-Race organizations' leaders nominated me for one of the positions on the NAC.  The Census Bureau selected me as one of the NAC's 32 members.  My term began in October 2012 and will run for two years, until 2014.  The NAC met in-person for the first time in late-October 2012 and will meet several more times between 2012 and 2014 (three more in-person meetings and two virtual meetings).  The NAC is also empowered to convene Working Groups on topics it chooses to explore; Working Groups are allowed to recruit participants from outside the NAC.  (If you'd like to see some of the documents related to the NAC and its first in-person meeting, please see the GoogleDocs folder accessible in the Resources tab of this blog.)

I've created this blog to share information I learn through working with the NAC, to share my own thoughts, and to provide a platform for gathering people's thoughts and fostering discussion about NAC-related matters.  In my position on the NAC, I am not formally a representative of any organization or group.  However, it's my hope that I'll be in communication with other people who care about the issues and populations related to the NAC and the Census Bureau's work.  

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*Note: Currently, the Census Bureau has several National Advisory Committees; however, for the purposes of this blog, when I refer to the NAC, I'm referring to the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.

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