March 30, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has shown us many good things about our country: The strength of family bonds, how to pull together as a community, and the importance of the hardworking people who perform essential services. But it has also pulled back the curtain to expose the widening holes of inequality that make emergencies like this more costly—and more deadly—to poor people and people of color.
When this crisis passes, we will need to address the structural inequality that values some families over others. To do that, we are going to need an accurate count of the people and families in every community. The 2020 Census is happening right now, and there’s never been a more important time for everyone to participate in it and make sure we are all counted.
The United States undertakes a Census every ten years and it is one of the most critical tools in maintaining our democracy. And it is especially important to a big, diverse state like California. The Census decides how billions of federal dollars are distributed in California. An undercount could mean less money for our schools, health services, childcare, emergency services and many other programs. With over half of IHSS funding coming from the federal government, we need to be counted or some of those funds could go to other states. The Census also decides the number of California’s Congressional members and Electoral College votes. A complete count means more people in power who truly represent and advocate for our communities.
If you have your census mailer, there are easy instructions on how to fill it out. Go to my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire”. You will be asked for the 12- digit code on your Census mailer. If you don’t have your code, the site will guide you to use your address. Then there will be a few quick questions about the people who live in your household: how many, what ages and ethnicities, their relationship to the person answering the survey.
IMPORTANT: The 2020 Census does NOT include any questions about citizenship and will NOT be used to identify people who are undocumented.
A lot of people are afraid to answer the Census because they are undocumented or are uncomfortable revealing information to the government. But that fear could end up endangering undocumented communities as California gets less representation, less funding and less say about the future of our country.
In a normal Census year, people who didn’t answer online or by mail would get a follow up visit to their homes where a trained Census worker would ask questions in person. But the COVID-19 emergency may delay that outreach in some areas. Don’t wait! Respond to the Census today at my2020census.gov and make sure you count! And make sure your friends and family know that answering the Census is safe, private, easy, and as important as voting to the future of our state and our country.
You can find out more about how important an accurate Census count helps Californians like you at https://californiacensus.org
If you have questions about how to fill out the Census, call the UDW Member Benefits Center at 1-888-621-5016.
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