Throughout the country, efforts are being made to ensure Black communities are counted for the 2020 Census. As we approach this year’s Juneteenth celebration, we have a chance to do just that. Juneteenth can help educate the Black community on the importance of filling out their Census. Research shows that Black residents could be undercounted by as much as 1.7 million people. If these communities go uncounted, this results in a loss of billions in federal funding as each decade there is an estimated $20,000 per person returned to communities when they are counted in the Census.
On Thursday, June 18, at 6 p.m., Together Oklahoma will be partnering with Block Builderz to host our Virtual Census Get-Out-The-Count Juneteenth Celebration. The event will feature a musical performance by Oklahoma City’s own Jabee, which will be followed by an educational panel on Juneteenth history and the importance of Census work in the Black community. During this event we will highlight the importance of filling out the Census within the Black community.
Juneteenth is a day for Black communities to reflect on how far we have come, and how far we need to go. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued into law, freeing all slaves. On June 19, 1865, Texas slaves received the knowledge that they were free, almost two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued into law. In 1980, Texas and many other states declared Juneteenth as an official holiday.
Some may ask, what does the Census have to do with Juneteenth? The Census helps Black communities receive more funds within those communities and provides visibility as community members demand real change. As Americans hear Black voices about the issues of systemic racism, we as a nation must fix the problems we have created or have let continue unaddressed for far too long. We can work to make sure every Black community member fills out the Census. Accurate Census data ensures services and programs will be able to provide Black communities across the country with the resources they need to be successful. Census data also ensures fair political representation further reflecting community priorities.
When everyone is counted we can ensure the Black community will receive the resources and representation for their communities. Join us June 18 as we educate individuals on the importance of filling out the Census. Remember, undercounted means underfunded and underrepresented.
To learn more, visit Together Oklahoma’s Facebook page.