Census 2020: The Value of Being Counted

It’s 2020, and we are still fighting for equality, which is only one ingredient in the recipe for equity. Equality means that everyone gets a box to stand on, equity means everyone can reach their apple, no matter how tall they are. We want everyone to get their apple, yet we are still fighting to make sure that there are enough boxes to go around.

The Census, happening right now, is the best way to ensure that our communities receive their fair and equal share of resources from the federal government. We must work to bolster participation, and make sure the Bronx improves on its 2010 response rate of 60%. At stake are two New York congressional seats and millions of dollars of funding. If we want to end overcrowding in our schools, make sure we have enough federal dollars for SNAP, and enough resources to support an aging population, we need to #GetCountedNYC!

On the April 2nd session of Thursday’s with Jessica, we talked about the Value of Being Counted. We traced the history of my family from Poland to Utah to the Bronx through the Census archives. We talked about the importance of the decennial count for the community and as a prerequisite to equity. We pointed participants to ways to volunteer for the census.

It is even more important today, during this pandemic, to make sure you and your neighbors are counted. Response rates are lower than normal and the Census teams are unable to go door to door as they have traditionally done. All residents, no matter their immigration status, should feel safe to complete the form. There is NO immigration status question on the Census form, and responses are confidential. Properly counting all residents, no matter immigration status, is important so that the community can receive the services it needs to support those residents.