RALEIGH, N.C. — When she moved to the United States from Mexico when she was around the age of 4, Maria Peralta Porras says she didn’t see very many faces like hers.


What You Need to Know

The Census Bureau released the 2020 population information in mid-August

Nationally, the Hispanic and Latino population grew by 23%

The North Carolina Hispanic and Latino population grew by almost 40%


“Growing up I was usually one of the only Latinas, and being undocumented and DACA, I always wanted to find someone that understood the struggles that I was going through,” Peralta Porras said.

Since then, she’s found her community and gotten involved with Siembra NC, an activism group.

Right now, volunteers are trying to speak with 10,000 Latinx North Carolinians about the issues they care about.

“There’s a lot of us in North Carolina, and we deserve justice and dignity, and the issues that we have matter,” Peralta Porras said.

The number of people in the state with Hispanic and Latin ancestry has grown in the last decade.

In the recently released census data, the national Hispanic and Latino population grew by 23%.

In North Carolina it grew by 39.8%.

The Census Bureau spent years working on how to word the questions around Hispanic and Latin ancestry to get the most accurate representation of the population.

Peralta Porras says in the past when she spoke with lawmakers, she didn’t feel like they saw the importance of listening.

Now that she can point to the Latinx population's growing numbers, she hopes the conversation shifts.

“Legislators or other people can say what they think is important to us, but we think it’s important to talk to the people on the ground and figure out what issues matter more,” Peralta Porras said.

The census, she says, is “having that kind of proof that what we’ve been telling you all these years is true.”