Pols, volunteers knock on doors during Census Day of Action

Sen. Zellnor Myrie (front row, left) with volunteers during Census Day of Action

Brooklyn Sen. Zellnor Myrie said on Tuesday that he, Assemblymember Diana C. Richardson, members of Community Board 9 and a host of volunteers knocked on thousands of doors during “Census Day of Action” on Saturday.

“We knocked on over 2,000 doors this weekend for our Census Day of Action,” said Myrie, representative for the 20th Senatorial District in a message to constituents, reminding them that “the census is coming up in less than two weeks.”

Myrie, whose grandmother hails from Jamaica, said over 90 volunteers went “door-to-door” in Brooklyn in raising awareness about the Census.

He said 80 percent of Brooklynites live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, stating that Brooklyn has “one of the lowest census participation rates in the country.”

Richardson, the daughter of Aruban and St. Martin immigrants, represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn. Her district juxtaposes Myrie’s in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Following the recent launch of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Census Council, New York’s campaign to make sure every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 Census continued last month with four conferences across the state.

Cuomo’s office said that State officials moderated panels in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island, to inform counties and community-based organizations on how to apply for available State funding, as well as best practices to coordinate efforts and resources to reach at-risk and hard-to-count communities.

The conferences also focused on leadership and messaging strategies to implement, improving digital literacy and opening up places for individuals to fill their Census online.

“We are committing significant resources to our efforts to get a complete count because the 2020 Census is critical to the future of our great state,” Cuomo said. “At this critical time in the history of this nation and this state, we are going to get the job done and make sure every New Yorker is counted and represented.”

In January, the governor proposed an additional $10 million in the FY 2021 budget, bringing the State’s total committed resources up to $70 million, “to ensure a fair and complete count of every New Yorker in the census.”

The governor also established the Census Council, which is co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Cuomo’s office said that dozens of State agencies and authorities, as well as State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY), are deploying resources and using their ongoing contact with the public to get residents to fill out the Census.

These State entities include the Departments of Labor, Motor Vehicles, Agriculture and Markets; the offices of Mental Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and People with Developmental Disabilities; Empire State Development; and the Division of Veterans Affairs, which are conducting outreach and providing Census-related information across their millions of contacts with the public.

The State’s support for the Census count builds on findings and recommendations released in October 2019 by the New York State Complete Count Commission, which held 10 public hearings and reviewed hundreds of comments, expert testimonies and in-depth analysis of previous census results, according to the Office of the Governor.

It said that the Commission found that the 2020 Census faces unprecedented challenges. For the first time, the Census will be conducted primarily online.

The Office of the Governor said that while the Trump administration failed in its effort to include a citizenship question on the Census, “its attempt to do so spread fear among immigrant communities.”

In addition, the Office said that the Trump administration and Congress have also failed to fully fund Census operations in the years leading up to 2020.

“As a result of that failure, the Census Bureau has been forced to cut costs, shifting responsibility for on-the-ground work necessary to drive participation in the 2020 Census from the federal government to state and local partners,” the statement said, adding that the number of U.S. Census Bureau field offices in New York has dropped from 35 in 2010 to 21 in 2020.

“The Census Council will help fill the gap from the federal cuts and inaction,” the Office of the Governor said.

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