Answer the call: Educators, spiritual leaders, and the Tulare community are ringing about the census
Here a quick review of the State of Black Tulare County Part 1 2020 Census town hall April 23
By Christopher Washington
On Thursday, April 23rd, The African-American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley (AAHCMSJV) hosted a town hall that discussed methods to count African Americans in the 2020 Census equally, with an emphasis on education and faith-based communities.
Local celebrity host of the Ken McCoy Entertainment Report, Ken McCoy and, local historian and census-information specialist, Gregory Melancon, moderated the forum on the 2020 Census. The conversation centered around the fact the census undercounts African-Americans.
"We have preconceived notions within our communities of people knocking on our doors and asking us questions, thinking that this will take away our freedom, or we are giving away information that somehow we will be penalized for," said Melancon. "The reality is that the 2020 Census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, educators, and many others use to gain funding and support throughout our communities. Melancon says that when African-Americans pass on answering the census, it means they pass up funding African-American communities. Resources like CALFresh, various state departments, and our schools also suffer."
Dr. Janeen Marie Goree, a research education specialist, addressed the importance of African-Americans participating in the census to impact Title 1. Title 1 means that schools with large concentrations of low-income students receive supplemental funds to assist in meeting student's educational goals – a current disparity in our communities. Goree said accurate counting results in appropriate funding for inner-city schools while providing students with the proper resources for success.
"This type of funding gives us the opportunity to staff our schools with more aides," says Goree. Goree says, "it helps us with supplies, it helps us with school programs, with online programs, and with after-school programs."
The discussion continued with how faith-based leaders can share the information with their parishioners as the census calls for these leaders to spread awareness in our communities.
"I think one thing about being part of the census and being counted means that you are part of a winning team," said Minister James Johnson, Jr. "When you look at your community after you've got the funding, and see the results of being counted, and know that you have been a part of a good thing, you should have a sense of pride. You were a part of something good that helped the community."
This year, it is more crucial than ever for the 2020 Census to count African-Americans in our communities, especially those that are considered hard-to-reach.
For more information on the upcoming State of Black Tulare Town Hall, click here.