by Guadalupe Pimentel Solano
Community Leadership Officer
Our world feels upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the center of discussions. I write this with a heavy heart because I am very aware that as I write this, families are going hungry. This virus has undoubtedly already had a significant impact on already vulnerable populations. I am aware that for many of our communities, the 2020 Census is the last thing on their mind. Many families are trying to figure out how they will feed their loved ones or pay their rent in the upcoming months. Even though the 2020 Census will not impact today, it will impact the future of our children and our entire community.
The United States has counted its population since the year 1970. The Constitution mandates a census happens every ten years to gather a clearer picture of how our country’s demographics and how they have changed. The Census determines funding for education, lunch programs, housing, health care, emergency programs, and many other public programs. The Census even determines the number of seats in the House of Representatives. For every single person that is not counted, our local community could lose up to $20,000 person for the next ten years—a total of $200,000 for one person.
The 2020 Census has one significant change; you can now complete it online. It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Keep in mind that once you start completing the Census, you cannot save and return to the spot where you left off. You can still complete the Census by mail or over the phone—and the 2020 Census can be done by phone in over ten languages.
Count Me INdy has helped equip our community with knowledge and resources to promote the Census, including organizing many community events. Due to COVID-19, many of those events are now canceled. Additionally, many of Count Me INdy’s outreach strategies were modified to ensure everyone remains safe under our current circumstances while reaching out to as many communities as possible.
The deadline for self-response for Census 2020 has been extended to Oct. 31—previously was July 31. Learn more about adjustments to the Census schedule due to COVID-19.
As a person of color and from a mixed-status family, I empathize with anyone with hesitations on filling out the Census. I completed the Census—not because it is the law—but because my family and our communities deserve to be counted—no matter place, race or identity. And now I am encouraging everyone to complete the Census. I also want to encourage everyone to dream together. I dream of a future where, as the mission at CICF mission states, all individuals have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential—no matter place, race or identity. Filling out the Census gets us closer to that. I truly believe that together we will get through these turbulent times because our communities have a history of being resilient.