Right Direction | A new initiative for the 2020 US Census: An interview with TV producer and journalist John Florescu

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JOHN Maurice Florescu was born on April 14, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Radu Florescu (1925-2014) was a Romanian academic who held the position of Emeritus Professor of History at Boston College, authored a series of bestselling books on Vlad “Dracula” Ţepeş, served as an adviser to former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA, 1932-2009) on Balkan and Eastern European affairs, and also served as the press liaison for the White House during the state visit of President Richard Nixon in 1969 in Romania.

Tiberiu Dianu

John Florescu is a graduate from Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts (B.A., magna cum laude, History, 1976). He also studied at a catholic school in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom (politics, philosophy and economics, matriculated in 1974).

Florescu worked for the David Paradine Television Inc. in Los Angeles, California (President and CEO, 1987-2006) and launched new media companies (Centrade, 1997, in Houston, Texas; Bates Agency, 1997, in Bucharest, Romania; Cable Direct, 1999; Chainsaw Europe Studios, 2005, in Bucharest, Romania; Kubis Interactive, 2008). He produced TV shows for the A&E Network, BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS, Discovery-Times, Disney, HBO, The History Channel, and PBS.

Florescu’s political and historical documentaries have been broadcasted internationally (U.S., UK and Europe) and featured in film festivals in Europe (“The King Who Tricked Hitler,” Time Warner Channel, 2016; the series “Trump versus Clinton: What It Means to Europe,” Time Warner Channel, 2016; “Trump: What He Means to Europe,” Time Warner, 2017). His productions include programs with six presidents of the United States, two former British prime ministers and former leaders of the Soviet Union.

During the period of October 3 and 4, 2019, John Florescu attended the annual ALIANTA/The Alliance Gala, in Washington, DC, at the Conrad Hotel and the Romanian Embassy, respectively.

On October 4, 2019, the Alianţa organization announced the launching of a new initiative, the 2020 U.S. Census Campaign, in order to encourage Romanian-Americans to mark themselves down as of Romanian-origin during the census. Estimates of Romanian-Americans in the United States vary from 800,000 to 1.5 million.

With that occasion, Mr. Florescu granted me an exclusive interview.

1. Mr. John Florescu, a social media campaign has been recently launched, in order to encourage Romanian-Americans to note their heritage on their 2020 U.S. Census forms. Can you elaborate a little on the technicalities that the voters should know, in order to successfully achieve this project?

Well, the primary obligation of the voters is, actually, to check the Census Form on Question #9 and ask them to say “what country are they from.” So, all they have to do is write “Romania.” It’s important because it helps accelerate the wait, the interest in Romanian issues or Romanian-American issues, and it gives importance because it is rooted in numbers. And politicians are very aware of numbers.

2. Thank you so much. As a leader of the Romanian-American community, how can you help change the U.S. visa rules and regulations and maximize the count of Romanian-Americans in the U.S. Census?

Well, I think, at some point, we are going to have to say “why Romania matters?” and try to give a sense of unity to the Romanian community. Because, when the lobbying campaign goes forward, whether it’s in the House, whether it’s in the Senate… I worked as an aide for a former senator, I know when you can talk about specifics, you know, the number of people that are in your community. That’s what they think about, they think about their congressional communities or their states. So that’s why it matters.

3. Thank you so much. The last question, Mr. Florescu: what challenges will you foresee during this process?

Certainly, we will be able to produce everything. I think we will be able to convince a number of the celebrities that we’ve talked about it [Harvey Keitel, Winona Ryder and others]. I think the main thing is to be sure that we have sufficient funds to take that to the social media campaign and get it widely and deeply into where the Romanians are. So, being able to carefully target that community, using social media and let them become a frample and take it to a wider community, would be the key thing.

4. Thank you so much, Mr. Florescu.

You are welcome. Thanks very much.

Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. and can be followed on Medium.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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