2020 Census

Two young children hold signs through the car window that make reference to the 2020 U.S. Census as they wait in the car with their family at an outreach event in Dallas.

—AP PHOTO/TONY GUTIERREZ

Nine national racial equity organizations are hosting a virtual “Census Party” this week.

“We’re trying to promote a full census count among communities of color,” said Elana Needle, director for the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative. “Because of COVID-19, we obviously can’t go door knocking, so we wanted to do something fun and different to showcase how easy it is to complete the census.”

The #MyFamilyCounts 2020 Census Party, which starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, will feature a DJ playing music and a brief census sing-along for kids. Members of the Black, Latino, American Indian and Asian Pacific Islander communities will explain why the census is important for their communities.

The census “will determine the funding for schools, hospitals, and community clinics,” said Clarissa Martinez, deputy vice president of policy and advocacy for Unidos, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.

“This form will determine the funding for not only just our government and businesses, but also our immediate communities,” she said. “It’s so crucial that everyone pitches in by filling out the census.”

Event leaders will offer a tutorial for filling out the census.

“We’re hoping that the attendees pass the word along about the census to family and friends,” Martinez said. “It’s really important that everyone understands that the information collected from the census will impact our lives for years to come.”

Representatives from the Advancement Project, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indian, National Urban League, Unidos and Race Forward will be available during the online event. All nine organizations are supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

More information about the Census Party is available at https://bit.ly/2020CensusParty

The census

Every 10 years, the United States Constitution requires a count (census) of all residents. The census collects details on the entire country’s population.

The results from the census will be used to determine representation in Congress, distribute more than $1.5 trillion in federal funding to states and communities, and allocate resources for job creation, housing, infrastructure, and more.

“If we do not get a good and accurate census count, we will end up in a situation where we will be getting less federal funding than we deserve,” said executive director of Philly Counts 2020 Stephanie Reid.

There are nine questions on the census form, including how many people live in the home it was delivered to and basic demographic information about each person.

People can answer the questionnaire via phone, mail or online. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.

“The Census Bureau will never ask you for financial information or your social security,” Reid said. “If someone is asking you questions about your bank accounts and social security you should report them right away because they’re not with the Census Bureau.”

Philly Counts 2020

Since April, volunteers with Philly Counts, the city’s effort to ensure every resident is counted in the 2020 Census, have made over 250,000 phone calls and talked to over 20,000 people about the census.

Volunteers have also attached census literature in food boxes that go to families in need during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Reid said, “the city is continuing to get the word about the census.”

“Through our door hanger canvas program, we will have put 300,000 door hangers in 93 neighborhood across the city,” Reid said. “We’re working really hard alongside elected officials, community based organizations, and volunteers to get us across the finish line.”

The deadline for the census is Oct. 31. However, Reid would prefer residents to fill out their questionnaires “sooner rather than later.”

“Don’t wait until the deadline, complete the census today,” Reid said. “Our communities, government and future depends on it.”

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