Event highlighted local focus on reaching hard-to-count populations
County leaders, key advocates, and community members gathered this morning to highlight Sacramento County’s community-driven efforts to ensure an accurate 2020 Census, a year out from the beginning of the consequential count in April 2020.
“We have one goal in mind and that is to count every single resident of Sacramento County, regardless of age, of skin color, of housing status, of documentation status, of sexual orientation—the list goes on. It is critical that we get every single person counted,” said Linda Beech Cutler, Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which is leading local Census 2020 outreach efforts in partnership with the County of Sacramento.
Among other things, data from Census 2020 will determine the allocation of federal dollars locally, and what kind of representation Sacramento County has moving forward.
“The Census is important for us now and for our future We must write our history now, and it starts with participation in the Census,” said Cassandra Jennings, Executive Director of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, at the Kick-Off. “We stand here today to make sure that each and every person in our great, diverse community gets counted in 2020.”
Many in Sacramento County live in areas that—based on demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics—are expected to be hard to count in the 2020 Census; in fact, Sacramento County has been identified as the eighth hardest-to-count county in California.
For each person who goes uncounted, the County estimates it loses $2,000 per year, severely impacting federal support for health care, education, transportation, housing, civil rights enforcement, job training, law enforcement, food, legal services, and more—which is why local Census leaders are targeting communications efforts to reach the hardest-to-count residents.
“The more people who are counted, the more we’re able to get the services and financial help that we need here. We want to make sure that all of our communities know that we matter, that we count,” said Tho Vinh Banh, an attorney with Disability Rights California, who, with Jennings, is a member of the Complete Count Committee coordinated by the Foundation and the County. That Committee is comprised of local leaders who are working within their diverse communities to develop outreach strategies that will ensure a complete count in Sacramento County.
“We do have the most diverse city in California, and that is our strength—but it’s also a challenge if we aren’t communicating, if we’re not working together, if we’re not counted,” said City of Sacramento Vice-Mayor Eric Guerra at the event, where speakers offered comments in multiple languages to reflect the diversity of Sacramento County.
The event at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria included a job fair for local employment opportunities tied to Census work. The County estimates that there are 200 local Census-related jobs that need to be filled immediately, and more will open as the April 2020 count approaches. Organized by Sacramento Employment-Training Agency, the job fair was attended by hundreds job-seekers, all of whom were given free passes to ride Sacramento Regional Transit buses and light rail to and from the event.
In addition to Cutler, Jennings, Banh, and Guerra, speakers at the Kick-Off included Gabby Trejo, Executive Director of Sacramento Area Congregations Together; Yumi Sera, Northern California Lead Regional Program Manager for the State-wide California Census office; and Supervisor Patrick Kennedy, Chair of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.
“You know, a lot of people look at the Census as just a data point in time, but the Census is so much more than that; the Census affects each and every one of us, and each and every one of our neighbors,” said Kennedy. “So please, get the word out. Please get counted.”
By focusing on the root causes of local challenges, seeking solutions with long-term results, and supporting the organizations that tend to the vital needs of the capital area, we help create the conditions for meaningful transformation in the Sacramento region.