The importance of the 2020 census cannot be understated, said Tasha Boone, a longtime public servant who currently serves as a senior adviser to the deputy director at the U.S. Census.
“It’s extremely important that everyone participate,” she said.
Boone was present throughout the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) recent five-day Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). Before the conference concluded on Sunday, Sept. 15, Boone and Census staff members had spoken to thousands of people in and around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C.
Boone also made an appearance at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel, where the Black Press of America held its annual National Newspaper Publishers Association’s National Leadership Awards Reception.
Later, Boone appeared on a CBCF panel that was led by Nevada Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford.
The panel, titled “Census 2020: Your Community is Counting on You,” delved into the importance of the census count.
“Toni Morrison left behind her life legacy for us. Many good works,” Boone said of the late novelist and Princeton University professor. “Morrison said, ‘I want to discourage you from choosing anything or making any decision simply because it’s safe.’ Things of value are seldom safe … these are not the easiest of times; however, there are things we can do to improve and enhance the ways things are.”
Boone noted that 2020 represents a vital year for all Americans, particularly African Americans.
“It’s an election year, and we know how important that is,” she said. “But, just as important is participating in the census. In March, all will get an opportunity to participate. It’s important and extremely safe.”
Within states, census results are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts and to distribute more than $675 billion in communities.
State and local government use census data to inform a variety of planning decisions, including where to build new schools, hospitals, and clinics.
Businesses use the census to determine where to locate.
“As a community, we cannot underestimate the value of the census,” Boone said.
Horsford echoed Boone’s comments, noting that under President Trump, there has been a concerted effort to discourage minorities from participating in the census.
“This administration has taken action specifically coordinated to discourage and frighten people away from participating in the 2020 census,” Horsford said, repeating comments he’d made earlier in the week when he led a meeting of the CBC’s Census 2020 Task Force with Director Steven Dillingham.
“Every decade, the U.S. Constitution requires a Census count of every resident in every household, and an accurate count is critical to the foundation of our democracy,” he said. “The Trump administration thinks it can dissuade the Black community and other minority communities from participating in the Census, denying our constituents access to representation in Congress and federal aid programs. We will not let that happen.”