Adams appeals to Brooklynites to complete Census forms

Brooklyn Borough President Adams attends a town hall meeting on Ebola and Enterovirus D68 in New York
Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams.
REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz

Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams on Sunday appealed to Brooklynites to complete the Census count, saying that it was very paramount that they do so.

“I am never going to stop fighting to ensure every single Brooklynite is counted ahead of the US Census’ self-response deadline,” said Adams in an email message to Brooklynites.

“With the Census Bureau ending all counting efforts on Sept. 30, we need to ramp up that fight and ensure that Brooklyn — which, combined with the other boroughs, has one of the lowest self-response rates at 54 percent citywide compared with 63 percent nationally — gets the representation it deserves,” he urged.

“More than 80 percent of Brooklynites live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, and one third all Brooklyn households did not mail back their 2010 Census forms,” he continued. “By filling out your 2020 Census form, you are helping to ensure increased representation, particularly among traditionally undercounted populations such as the elderly, low-income, undocumented, and young people, as well as those for whom English is not their first language.

“Time is running out and the sense of urgency cannot be overstated,” Adams said. “I implore you to fill out your 2020 Census form. And when you fill out your form, get 10 people you know to fill theirs out, too. We can do this, Brooklyn. Let’s stand up and #MakeBrooklynCount!”

Last week, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams strongly blasted President Donald J. Trump after the US Census Bureau announced it would end all counting efforts for the 2020 Census on Sept. 30, a month earlier than the previous deadline.

“The Trump administration has been transparent, blatant and shameless in its efforts to undermine the 2020 Census, particularly by discounting metropolitan areas and disregarding Black, brown and immigrant communities,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, on Wednesday.

“It has been rebuffed and rejected in every past attempt, and changing the deadline is a last-ditch effort toward these same ends,” he added. “Ending the count early all but ensures an undercount for New York City, and a subsequent lack of resources and representation.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, we need more time to ensure an accurate count, not less,” Williams continued. “But this is an administration unconcerned by inaccuracy, indifferent to the consequences – particularly in communities of more color.”

The Public Advocate noted that, in New York City, an average of only 53 percent of residents have completed the Census – lagging behind both the statewide and national average.

“If this trend continues, it could have a devastating impact on New Yorkers’ voice in government and the resources that government provides,” he said. “The best way to combat this failure by design, this undercount by intention, is for each New Yorker to complete the Census online and to encourage their neighbors to do the same.

“Many communities have had reason to be distrustful of governments seeking personal information, and it is incumbent on us to reassure people of the security and necessity of responding to the Census in order to overcome that understandable obstacle,” Williams added.

He said that while completing this “simple form” takes less than 10 minutes, “its impact – or the impact of not completing it – will be felt in New York City for more than 10 years.”

Two Sundays ago, a broad coalition of elected officials, community groups and Brooklyn residents marched through South and Central Brooklyn on Sunday to raise awareness about the census and racial justice.

The “Census March for Racial Justice,” organized by Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie and co-sponsored by numerous Brooklyn elected officials, began concurrently in Sunset Park and Brownsville, and converged for a rally at Grand Army Plaza.

“From infrastructure and healthcare, to school funding and political representation, the stakes for the 2020 Census are impossible to overstate,” said Myrie, the State Senate’s point person on the Census, whose grandmother hailed from Jamaica.

“Our communities have historically been undercounted, underfunded and underserved,” added the representative for the 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn. “Once every decade, we have the chance to show up, get counted and fight for the dollars we deserve.

“Filling out the Census takes 10 minutes to answer 10 questions, but the impacts for our neighborhoods, city and state last for 10 years,” continued Myrie. “At a time when the federal government wants to starve us of needed resources, it is more important than ever that everyone completes the Census, so that Brooklyn counts 100 percent.”

Williams, who spoke at a rally at Grand Army Plaza, at the culmination of the march, said the Census is “a civil rights issue.”

“It can also be an instrument of justice, if all New Yorkers are counted,” he said. “In the midst of a pandemic and a protest movement, it’s even more clear that our laws and our lives are shaped by the need for a complete count.

“A commitment to count every household in this city is a commitment to ensuring communities of more color across New York get the resources and representation they are owed,” Williams added.