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Photo by Clarisa James
The SEQ 2020 Census Coalition, comprised of 30 civic and community-based organizations along with elected officials, was formed to raise awareness and perform targeted Census outreach informing southeast Queens residents of the importance of filling out the Census. 

The Southeast Queens (SEQ) 2020 Census Coalition and Southeast Queens (SEQ) Fights COVID alongside local partners hosted a Day of Action census outreach event in Springfield Gardens on Monday in an effort to engage residents to fill out the Census.

SEQ’s Day of Action at Springfield Park supplied the community with face coverings, sanitizing supplies and Census giveaways, made available to residents for free. The event was supported by District Attorney Melinda Katz, the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), U.S. Census Bureau, NYC Census 2020, LIFE Camp and Pow(her)ful. 

“We cannot be outraged about the atrocities we see across the nation and not take five minutes to fill out the Census so that we can get the resources and political representation we need to help our families stay alive, be healthy, to get the proper nourishment to beat viruses,” said Erica Ford, CEO of LIFE Camp Inc. “It is important to not only wear PPE equipment and stay in the realm of social distancing, it is important to be an active participant in your life by filling out the Census, voting, and using your voice to hold elected officials, the police department, and all the other systems that represent you, accountable. Your voice is valuable!”

The 2020 Census has been underway since March 12 and over 11 weeks, only 60 percent of households in the country have responded to the Census; New York City is 10 percentage points behind at 50 percent. 

However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau self response rate map, parts of southeast Queens like Springfield Gardens South and Rosedale remain in the lowest of self-response rates across the city hovering between 39 percent to 36 percent respectively.  

“With COVID-19 upending life throughout New York City, this year’s decennial Census count has gotten off to a difficult start,” said Melva Miller, executive vice president at the Association for a Better New York, leading the Census effort. “As we face unprecedented challenges coping with this global pandemic, the Census count continues and communities of color are struggling to keep pace.”

Melva Miller of ABNY (c.) leads the 2020 Census Coalition in Day Of Action at Springfield Park. (Photo by Clarisa James)

The SEQ 2020 Census Coalition, comprised of 30 civic and community-based organizations along with elected officials, was formed to raise awareness and perform targeted Census outreach informing southeast Queens residents of the importance of filling out the Census.

Without a sufficient count, communities of color like southeast Queens could lose billions of dollars in federal funding disproportionately which directly affect access to programs like affordable housing, public education, after-school programs and the improvement of  road and building infrastructures.

“Ensuring an accurate count is an absolute must! For far too long our communities have been under-counted resulting in a loss of resources and political power,” said Natasha Williams, co-founder of SEQ Fights COVID, a mutual aid network providing resources to the southeast Queens community impacted by the virus. The SEQ 2020 Census Coalition is leading the charge intentionally in spite of the current climate. I look forward to our continued work together, guaranteeing southeast Queens is properly counted in the 2020 Census.”

Meanwhile, Katz is encouraging every Queens resident to complete the 2020 Census, so Queens can receive the necessary resources to keep communities safe. 

“It’s important that our neighborhoods are given the resources needed to reduce crime and provide young people with alternatives to violence. That can only happen if everyones counted,” Katz said. 

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