The world before the iPAD?
A time when Iron Man had only been in ONE movie?
It’s hard to believe how much the world has changed since 2010. Yet that is the last time our country took the time to officially count its population.
As we do once a decade, we set out on the path of counting every man, woman and child who live in America. And now, ten years later, it’s time to start all over again.
This is great news for those of us who care about building a more democratic and progressive America. Because when we Get Out The Count, we shape the future. Literally.
The outcome of the Census is going to have massive ripple effects across our country and the world (climate change doesn’t recognize borders, does it?!). It will determine significant parts of how we allocate political power, health care and education funding, and so much more.
So let’s look at 10 things you can do to Get Out The Count in the 2020 Census.
1) First things first, start by understanding why the Census matters. And don’t just, sorta, know that it, kinda, matters… be ready to tell your friends and family why it’s so important if they aren’t already sure.
The Census literally determines how many Congress people every state gets to represent it in Washington. If the people of California or New York are under-counted, they will get less seats in Congress than they deserve.
And that’s not all. The Census also determines how many Electoral College seats every state gets. And since America doesn’t pick a President by popular vote, the more Electoral College members a state gets, the bigger their role in selecting our President. Kinda important, no?
And while you would think that picking TWO branches of our government is already a lot, believe it or not, that’s STILL not all.
Because the Census also determines how we allocate funding in our budgets. When communities get counted, they get more funding for things like health care, employment programs and education. When communities don’t get counted… well who really needs doctors, jobs and schools, right?
2) The Census IS a jobs program! Know anyone looking for a job? Or someone just looking for a side hustle, but who can’t spend another day driving a Lyft around their neighborhood?
Well the Census has you and your friends covered. Over half a million jobs will be created throughout the Census. Let people know to keep an eye out for an opening near them.
3) Do you know any young people? People of color? People who tend to move a lot? Immigrants (documented or otherwise)? People who speak English as a second language?
These communities are historically harder to reach during the Census. Which means they get under-counted. Which means they don’t get their fair share of the budgetary pie.
Start making lists of the people you know who fit such criteria and make a point to connect with them personally (over coffee, social media, text, whatever works for...) so they understand how important the Census is, not just for them and their community, but for all of us!
4) Share a post about the importance of the Census on Facebook.
5) Share another post about the importance of the Census on Facebook.
6) Send an email, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp note to your friends and family about the importance of the Census.
7) Post your best selfie on Instagram, and then in the caption, explain to your followers how excited you are about the upcoming Census!
8) Okay, you’ve officially become a power poster about the Census. Chances are, someone you know is weighing in to tell you (and your friends) that the Census is bad/stupid/a lie/dangerous… Write that person (or, sigh, those people) a personal note and politely but effectively try to bring them around on the importance of the Census.
9) Whether or not you are looking to find a job Getting Out The Count, find an organization you care about who is helping with the work of the Census and volunteer. We’re all in this together!
10) Don’t let all of your great work get lost in the shuffle. Keep track of your many conversations about the Census in Empower. Empower is a Relational Organizing program that provides you the tools you need to talk to the people that matter about the things that matter. Learn more at getempower.com.
The Census is so important. It is going to literally help us shape the next decade of our society. We at Organizing Empowerment will be talking about it a lot, sharing updates, tips for Getting Out The Count and a whole lot more. If you haven't already, connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and join our mailing list.
We’ll close this post with a bonus 11th thing you can do to Get Out The Count. Share this post with your networks on social media!
And never forget: the Census Is coming — Let’s Make It Count!