A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that effectively blocked the implementation of a proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census. As census forms went to print, the administration continued its efforts to find a way to include the question, only relenting late last week. While we celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision and monitor the ongoing attempts by the administration to count citizens and noncitizens, we must continue to keep up momentum and energy around the 2020 Census.
Even without the citizenship question, we face challenges to a fair and accurate count. The stakes could not be higher. Many communities – especially those that historically have been hardest to count, such as immigrant and communities of color – may understandably be fearful of responding to the census, particularly given the continued efforts to politicize it. Organizations with deep relationships within these communities have the opportunity to serve as trusted messengers, helping their clients and constituents understand what is at stake in the census and what can be gained by getting counted. The census determines the amount of federal dollars our region receives for critical programs, the number of Congressional seats we have, and how district lines are drawn at all levels of government. Getting counted is the most powerful tool we have to secure our fair share of federal resources and political power.
This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the region. That’s why we encourage everyone to help #CountDMVin. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Talk to your grantee partners about how they might be able to engage hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census and what kind of support they need to do so.
- Consider investing in the Count DMV In Census Project, a pooled fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, to directly support 2020 Census activities.
- WRAG members: Join the 2020 Census Working Group to get connected with other local funders investing in a complete and accurate census in our region.
- Consider how you might incorporate education and outreach about the 2020 Census into your work. Talk to your current funders now about what kind of additional support you would need.
- Check out the national Census Counts Campaign for a wealth of resources related to census outreach, including messaging toolkits.
- Get connected with your local Complete Count Committees, task forces responsible for developing strategies for local outreach. Find a list of committees in this resource guide.
- Apply for funding from the Count DMV In Census Project (and act fast: the application deadline is July 29th!)
- The private sector depends on accurate census data. Local businesses can help get the word out about the importance of completing the census among their employees and customers. Check out this recent op-ed in the Washington Business Journal from the Northern Virginia Complete Count Committee on how business can engage in the census.
- Help get the word out about the importance of the 2020 Census by using the hashtag #CountDMVin on social media. And, share the #CountDMVIn Census Video!
The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ 2020 Census Working Group is a collection of funders focused on leveraging the resources of local philanthropy and other stakeholders to ensure an accurate and complete census count in the region, co-chaired by Levina Kim (United Way of the National Capital Area), Ria Pugeda (Consumer Health Foundation), and Terri Wright (Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation). #CountDMVin is a regional communications campaign to raise awareness and spur action to ensure a complete 2020 Census.