#MakeBrooklynCount: Launching Brooklyn's Complete Count Committee for Census 2020
On Tuesday, October 23rd, we proudly launched the #MakeBrooklynCount campaign and the Brooklyn Complete Count Committee for Census 2020 in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. Below are Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke's remarks from the press conference at Borough Hall. See this story in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle for more on the event.
You can stream the full video of the press conference at the bottom of this page or watch it here.
The census is an essential part of our democracy.
It impacts the allocation of elected representatives, the distribution of government funding for vital services and programs like schools and hospitals, and planning for future investments in our communities by businesses and nonprofits alike. And yet we know Brooklyn residents are not getting their fair share.
Brooklyn is considered the HARDEST TO COUNT county in all of New York State.
We are here today to make sure that every Brooklyn resident, regardless of age, race, immigration status, is fairly and accurately counted in Census 2020 so that our communities receive the benefits they deserve and continue to grow stronger into the future.
This spring, Brooklyn Community Foundation announced our $100,000 commitment to Census 2020 for organizing this year in Brooklyn and statewide. On top of that, we reached out to Borough Hall to formalize the creation of a Complete Count Committee for Brooklyn to serve as an official local organizing and coordinating body to get out the count.
We want Census 2020 to take Brooklyn from the hardest to count to the highest response rate!
And yet we know that this upcoming Census presents unprecedented challenges. This will be the first census where the primary means of response will be online. What does this mean when we consider the digital divide in our communities? We know that more than a third of low-income New Yorkers do not have broadband at home. Will Brooklynites be willing to use costly cell phone data towards filling out the survey on their phones? On the ground response teams and turning community centers and local nonprofits into census response sites will be key.
This is also the first census in more than 60 years where the government is seeking to ask every person to provide their citizenship status—a politically motivated decision designed to suppress response rates in parts of the country with high immigrant populations—with a direct aim at Brooklyn, where over 40% of our population is foreign-born. The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 400,000 Brooklyn residents are not US citizens. The addition of a citizenship question could not only suppress the responses of these 400,000 Brooklynites. It could also suppress the response rates of every household that includes a non-citizen resident.
All of this means that we have to be better organized and better prepared than we have ever been before.
As Brooklyn’s community foundation, we are calling on every Brooklyn resident, nonprofit organization, and business to be part of the campaign to #MakeBrooklynCount.
And most importantly right now we need you to appeal to your elected officials for funding: call your City Council members to advocate for city funding to reach nonprofits and community-based organizations in your neighborhood and call on our Governor and your State Representatives to ensure that New York makes a sizable investment in census preparation in the upcoming state budget.
We also encourage you to pay close attention to the current law suits trying to stop the addition of a citizenship question, a decision that may ultimately find its way to the Supreme Court.
And lastly, we want to encourage you to talk to your neighbors and family members now about the census. Be a trusted advocate for why the census matters and why they should take it seriously and participate.
There are nearly 3 million people in Brooklyn—let’s make sure that each and every one counts!