By AFRO Staff
In an effort to engage Black communities to focus on being counted in the 2020 Decennial Census, even during the Coronavirus (COVID 19) global pandemic, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Unity Diaspora Coalition along with over 40 national and state-based partner organizations launched Black Census Week. Black Census Week is a seven-day social media initiative focused on promoting and encouraging the Black population (native and foreign born) to participate in the 2020 Decennial Census by being counted via online phone or mail before Census Day-April 1st.
The NCBCP Unity 2020 Black Census Week’s theme is “Count Me Black!” and will aggressively utilize a variety of social media platforms. The Black Census Week social media outreach campaign launched on March 23 and will conclude on March 29. Campaign organizers understand the magnitude and danger of COVID19, which won’t allow for field organizing activities that were originally planned, like door knocking and neighborhood canvassing and phone banking. Therefore, Black Census Week restructured the campaign to focus on utilizing digital technology and social media to motivate Black communities to participate in the 2020 Decennial Census.
Minority and marginalized communities, including African Americans, Black immigrants, LGBTQ+, children and the elderly, have been historically undercounted in past census counts. This historical undercount has led to millions of federal dollars diverted away from hundreds of programs that support Black America.
“Being counted is imperative,” Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and national convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, said. “These are indeed trying times for our nation, as we endure the uncertainty of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It is times like these that stress even more that each and every person needs to be counted so that we receive the resources and assistance that are due for our communities. For that reason, we all MUST participate in the 2020 Decennial Census. Despite the challenges each of us are personally facing, participating in the census has been made much easier for us through the use of social media and digital technology. We must take the time and make sure we are counted and say ‘Count Me Black!’”
During the campaign’s formal launch via teleconference on March 23, Marc Morial, National Urban League President CEO stressed, “This pandemic is as bad as we feared it would be, but we must move forward. We must encourage our people to fill out the forms online. The census is power and we must be counted.” National Action Network Founder and President, Rev. Al Sharpton emphasized, “If we don’t participate, we can lose congressional seats. We don’t get the services we are entitled to. If we don’t participate we become accomplices in the undercount. We will take ourselves off the grid.”
Stressing the importance of Black Women participating in the Census, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, National Chair and President of the National Council of Negro Women added, “Black women are stepping up to be counted. ‘Count me Black’ is something Black women have to do. We must work to overcome obstacles to be counted. The census is a path to resources and power.”
For more information, follow the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation on Facebook.