Meet Edith Mata, the newest member of the Census Student Liaison team at Kern Sol News.
Edith is currently a full-time sophomore at Bakersfield College where she is majoring in Business Administration and Spanish. In addition to her busy schedule, she also serves as a campus Senator on BC’s Student Government Association, Vice President of Latinos Unidos Por Educacion (LUPE,) and is a member of La Sociedad Juarez in east Bakersfield.
“I am part of different student organizations on campus and that networking has helped me a lot — getting involved, having mentors,” said Mata who joined Kern Sol News in February to help advocate for the 2020 Census through a series of personally curated projects.
“I see the importance of the Census. As a citizen, it’s our responsibility to be part of the count to let them know we care.”
Why the Census?
As a single working mother, Mata credits community resources, such as Head Start, which is available through help from census funding, as instrumental in helping her to maintain a level of health and wellness for her son, now age 4, while also allowing her to pursue her academics.
“Head Start has supported me since my son was a year old,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about not having food or diapers and was able to go to school full-time and work part-time.”
“It took my son about a month to get used to, but the program helped him a lot with motor skills, and he’s growing to be really smart and social.”
Because of the help offered by those services, Mata says her commitment to giving back to ensure an accurate count is stronger than ever.
“The Census is held every ten years, which is the normal span of an average childhood, so I see the importance of receiving the funds from the census count. Parents need to get involved. Your child can’t count themselves and do the paperwork.”
Having already made the transition to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mata says both her Census advocacy efforts and personal goals remain in sight. She plans to attend CSUB and UCLA to study law in the future to become a lawyer.
Welcome to Kern Sol, Edith!
Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.