Art by Hannah Layden
Pop quiz: What takes less than 10 minutes and means billions of dollars for schools, infrastructure, and public services near you? You guessed it: the damn Census. This week, we are beating the drum about the best 10 minutes you’ll spend in quarantine today, and why you should take an extra 5 to preach to every person in your rolodex about how crucial it is to #GetCounted.
The Census is a constitutionally mandated count of the population of the U.S. & its territories conducted every 10 years. We kicked off the month with Census Day on April 1, but there’s still time to do your part. NYers need to step it up: the current national self-response rate is at about 45%, but NYC is trailing at 35%. Thanks to the Supreme Court, Trump’s ploy to include a citizenship question was quashed, but there's still fear and misconceptions about the Census—so it’s important not only to fill out the 10-question form, but also to spread the word that answers are safe, secure, & confidential. Everyone should fill out the Census, regardless of their citizenship or housing status.
The Census is a 230 y/o tradition we should actually keep alive. Here's why (#BlackHer): 1) It determines our communities’ political representation through a process called “apportionment,” aka divvying up the # of seats our state has in Congress. 2) Census data will be used to draw new voting districts in 2021. 3) It serves as the basis for federal funding to our communities, including for healthcare and programs like Head Start, SNAP, and the National School Lunch Program. 4) Public service orgs rely on Census data to track & address social and economic challenges facing our communities (eg, it's being used to make critical decisions about resources needed amid the COVID crisis). 5) Businesses use Census data to make decisions about where to open doors, create jobs, grow, or relocate.
—Crack open a new tab, grl—it’s time to fill out the Census. For the first time, the Census can be done online or over the phone. Do it now while you sip your morning coffee. You’ll be done by the time you get up for a refill.
—Spread the good word. Tell everyone—literally everyone—how important it is to fill out the Census. Forward this email to your friends, family, acquaintances, frenemies, exes, etc.
—Get informed and Text Out the Count. Want to learn more? Next month’s training will cover all things Census and we’ll put our knowledge to work by Texting Out the Count! RSVP here.