BCNN1 – Almost 30 percent of the people in the United States have not participated in the 2010 Census, and two black organizations are now taking the “Count Me In” message to churches to tap those hard to reach people.
“People may turn off the television. They may not listen to the radio, and they may not get on the Internet, but they come to church,” said the Rev. T. DeWitt Smith Jr. of the National African American Clergy Network.
That organization, along with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, launched a campaign on Sunday to target churches with specific messages and prayers through the end of June. Some ministers and church associates also are using social media in the campaign.
The census count will help determine how the federal government spends $400 billion each year for the next 10 years. It also is used to determine representation in the House of Representatives, said Stanley Rolark, chief of public information for the U.S. Census Bureau.
“In this economy, we can’t afford to have any of our communities undercounted,” said Melanie Campbell, executive director of the NCBCP. “By working with the black churches, we can reach people with a trusted voice.”
Being properly counted means billions of dollars to communities to pay for quality schools, housing, health care, jobs and other critical goods and services African-Americans desperately need, Smith said.
The “Count on Me – Count Me In Census Campaign” stresses the importance of participating in the census and urges churchgoers who have not filled out a census form to cooperate with census takers or call in their census forms immediately.
The campaign is targeting 10 cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; Houston, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; and New York, NY.
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