2020 Census: What You Can Do Before September 30

Our Communities Deserve to be Seen, Heard,

and Counted

The 2020 Census is still underway, and with the cutoff date recently moved up from October 30 to September 30, we have only about a month to take action to make sure that everyone gets counted. Additionally, these last-minute changes are impacted further by recent cuts to the U.S. Postal service, which could make getting counted by mail more difficult.

In March, we wrote about our work with MassCreative and Massachusetts Voter Table‘s Beth Huang, who gave us a crash course about the direct impact the US Census has on the art community and what we can do to help Getting Out The Count. Since then, we’ve been working with the #CreateTheVote steering community to spread the word even further about how arts organizations can help boost civic engagement through census and voting advocacy.

Check out these guides from our colleagues at MassCreative to brush up on why the census is so important:

Every ten years, the data collected helps us understand who lives in our neighborhoods, impacts political redistricting, and determines how $800 billion in federal resources is allocated across communities for public education, affordable housing, and public transportation and infrastructure.

It’s these vital civic services that intersect with our audiences’ ability to engage with the region’s arts and culture. As Huang noted back in March, “The census is a chance for all of our communities to tell the story of who they are.”

The census is a chance for all of our communities to tell the story of who they are.

2020 Census will help to determine critical Federal funding for public transportation in Boston. | MBTA Red Line train. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Being counted in the census is especially important for populations who have been historically undercounted or hard to count (this includes people of color, communities where English is not the first language, young children, and low-income households). For federal funding to be equitable, an effort must be made to reach out to these undercounted groups. To alleviate these challenges, arts organizations can get involved in several ways, especially if these hard to count communities are your neighbors!

Multi-lingual urban neighborhoods like Dorchester’s Upham’s Corner are often undercounted. | The Strand Theater located in Upham’s Corner in Dorchester. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

What You Can Do to Help

  • Take 5 minutes to fill out the pledge to #CreateTheVote and stay up-to-date with urgent action items in regards to the 2020 Census and voting advocacy
  • If you work with an organization, incorporate reminders about the importance of getting a full and fair count on the census in newsletters, collateral, listservs, and other messaging. Once you’ve taken the #CreateTheVote pledge, you can use the #CreateTheVote Census 2020 toolkit to help get the word out
  • Create an “I counted” social media campaign, with your organization or as an individual
  • Massachussets is still looking for Census employees! Encourage your freelance and student communities to apply for a temporary part-time, flexible position with the 2020 Census. Suffolk County pays $25- 27.50 an hour.
  • Sign up to phone bank with MA Voter Table and MassCounts. You’ll need to complete a quick training session before starting to make calls, but this is one of the most direct ways to reach members of your community and help them get on track to fill out the census before September 30.

As arts organizations, getting involved with the 2020 Census is a no-brainer way that we can impact the political sector and contribute to increasing public equity for our audiences, networks, and neighbors. Because it’s taking place during this busy election season, it’s crucial to be proactive about you and your household’s participation and to spread the word in your communities.

Filling out the Census is an important civic duty that ensures accurate counting and representation in our government. #CreateTheVote and help Get Out The Count!

For more information, check out the
Massachusetts 2020 Census department, the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund, and MassCounts.

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Patron Service Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement. twitter-4-512 @elena_pearl
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