Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign kicks off

Advocates and city officials attend the lauch of NYC Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign.

More than 160 community partners on Tuesday joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in kicking off NYC Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign.

Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Census 2020 Director, Julie Menin, Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Carlina Rivera, City University of New York (CUNY) Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz, and hundreds of advocates, service providers, representatives from labor and major civic institutions, and city officials joined in the launch of what is described as “the nation’s largest and most diverse coordinated municipal campaign to achieve a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census.”

“New York City has been on the front lines of the resistance against the Trump Administration and ensuring every New Yorker gets counted is central to that fight,” said Mayor de Blasio. “No matter how hard the federal government tries to silence our diverse voices, we still stand up and be counted.”

“A complete headcount in the 2020 Census is crucial for the future well-being of our city,” said Johnson. “We have to get this right to ensure we receive the proper federal funding for our schools, our roads, our health care, our public housing, and more.

“This is our once-in-a-decade opportunity to show the federal government that we are here, and that we count,” he added, stating that the City Council “pushed hard to make sure we allocated $40 million in the current budget for the efforts to count every New Yorker, because every New Yorker matters.”

Johnson said that community-based organizations are “our trusted partners in this effort and will ensure that we reach every community across the five boroughs.

“Let’s get a complete and accurate count and receive the federal funding we need and deserve,” he urged.

With just eight weeks until New Yorkers can begin completing the census online for the first time starting March 12, 2020, Mayor de Blasio and Menin also announced that the City will invest $3 million in community and ethnic media advertising to ensure participation among the city’s most historically undercounted communities.

According to the Office of the Mayor of New York City, this figure represents the largest such investment by the City in local and community media for any campaign to date.

The office said that the census campaign will be advertising in a minimum of 16 languages, including several languages spoken by New Yorkers with high levels of limited proficiency in English.

“The NYC Complete Count Campaign represents a historic and unprecedented partnership between a mayoral administration, the City Council, CUNY, and 157 community-based organizations across all five boroughs, as well as the city’s three library systems, labor unions, and civic and private institutions of many types,” the Mayor’s Office said.

“Consisting of all these partners and supported by an overall joint $40 million investment by Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson, the NYC Complete Count Campaign, collectively, is by far the largest and best-resourced census-focused municipal campaign in the nation,” it added, disclosing that a majority of that funding, an unprecedented $23 million, will go towards community-based organizing and outreach, “the largest such investment by any city in the nation.”

The plan released on Tuesday details how the campaign seeks to achieve a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census by engaging in: Targeted campaign-style organizing, with a focus on “Get Out The Count” activities in historically undercounted communities; aggressive earned media, paid media, and social media strategy featuring everyday New Yorkers and trusted community voices; deep collaboration across all sectors: city agencies, houses of worship, elected officials, employers, unions, and more; and sophisticated data analysis and modern outreach tactics with new technologies to target outreach to priority neighborhoods, increase efficiency, and enable comparison to real-time self-response data from the US Census Bureau.

The Mayor’s Office said that New York City’s Complete Count Campaign Plan has been “conceptualized and drafted” by a combination of government and community partners, namely NYC Census 2020, the City’s census office, in coordination with the office’s Citywide Partners, a network of 15 of the city’s most trusted and effective advocacy, organizing, and service delivery organizations, in addition to CUNY.

The organizations were discretionarily funded by the City Council in August 2019 at a total of $4 million to engage in census-related planning and organizing, and have worked hand-in-hand with NYC Census 2020 and the City Council on the creation and implementation of the Complete Count Campaign.

These organizations are: Association for a Better New York (ABNY), Asian American Federation, Asian Americans for Equality, Brooklyn NAACP, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, Chinese-American Planning Council, Community Resource Exchange, FPWA, Hester Street, Hispanic Federation, Make the Road — New York, New York Immigration Coalition, NALEO Educational Fund, United Neighborhood House and The United Way of New York City.

“In Washington, the Trump Administration thought it had a plan to weaponize the census – and now we have a plan to fight back and get every single New Yorker counted,” said Menin, who is also Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department.

“Our Complete Count Campaign Plan is built on the idea that it is only through successful and strategic partnerships with local communities, major civic institutions, government, the private sector, media, and others, that we will be able to teach every New Yorker about the critical importance of the census in determining access to our rightful share of resources and representation – and we’re proud to be leading the largest and most comprehensive Get Out the Count effort being mounted by any city in the nation,” she added.

“Helping New Yorkers to achieve a fair and accurate census count is a critically important task, and one that the City University of New York is uniquely positioned to help achieve both by helping administer the funds that are going to community-based organizations and by deploying our students, who reflect the full range of New York City’s diversity,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

“CUNY students are ready to venture into the hardest-to-count neighborhoods and ensure that the people who live in those communities, and who all too often are overlooked, are acknowledged and counted. We are proud to play a part in this process and excited about this necessary work to begin,” he added.

“The announcement and implementation of the NYC Complete Count Campaign Plan, I am thankful for the alignment of resources and support that are desperately needed for the Borough of Brooklyn and our #MakeBrooklynCount campaign,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“We’re working with community partners to begin mobilizing boots on the ground to engage with every and all Brooklyn constituencies in every and all neighborhood around the borough to ensure an accurate and fair demographic and population count during the 2020 Census,” he added.

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