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Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Mark Morial
Marion Wright Edelman
Marion Wright Edelman
Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Congressional District 5
Steny H. Hoyer

Marc Morial, President and CEO National Urban Legue
To Be Equal: 2020 Census National Tele-Town Hall to Feature Activists and Experts on How to Prevent an Undercount

“The extent to which the 1960 undercount has shortchanged inner-city residents of the political representation and economic assistance to which they are entitled is incalculable. Two million blacks missed in 1960 could symbolize the loss of five congressmen and scores of state legislators to the black community. Moreover, since more and more Federal and state aid to cities is being allocated on a per capita basis, ghetto residents are increasingly being denied this economic support because of Census underenumeration.”
—Whitney M. Young, Jr., testimony to Congress, 1970

The 2020 Census could fail to count more than 4 million people, most of them Black and Latino.

Among the many dire consequences of undercounting people of color is the draining of political influence from diverse communities into predominantly white communities.  An unfair census will deprive communities of color of billions of dollars in federal funding for programs like Head Start, Medicare, school lunch programs and transportation and safety infrastructure. It would interfere with the just enforcement of civil rights laws and constitutional protections like fair housing and voting rights.

The National Urban League and our civil rights allies are determined not to let this happen. And you can help.

Join us on October 22, 8 p.m. Eastern time, for the 2020 Census National Tele-Town Hall.

We’re gathering leaders, activists, clergy, and experts for a conversation on ways to make sure the Black community is counted. Among the speakers is former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and activist Stacy Abrams.

Abrahams this year launched a new group, Fair Vote, that seeks to reach out to “hard-to-count populations” in the Georgia before counting begins.  She will be joined by the leaders of the organizing coalition, National Urban League, NAACP, National Action Network, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

It’s easy to participate. Just visit to register.

You can also follow our efforts to ensure a fair Census on social media, using the hashtag #MakeBlackCount. Make Black Count was the campaign conducted by the Coalition for a Black Count, a project of 13 civil rights organizations spearheaded by the National Urban League under the leadership of Whitney M. Young, Jr.

“The Coalition feared that many non-white Americans would be missed in the 1970 Census,” Young testified to Congress.  That fear was based on an evaluation of the Bureau of the Census’ plans for counting minorities. In the opinion of the Coalition, those plans were fraught with many serious deficiencies.”  Young listed these as inadequate mailing procedures, inadequate assistance for completing the complex forms, poor community educational activity about the Census and distorted publicity from the Bureau of the Census, “which tended to shift the blame for a potentially large undercount to a ‘hostile black community.’”

Sound familiar? Threats to an accurate 2020 Census include underfunding, hiring issues, inadequate testing and the lingering effects of a failed attempt to add a citizenship question.  Even though the effort to add a citizenship question was defeated, the controversy around it could intimidate some immigrants and their families from responding to the census.

Earlier this year, the non-partisan think tank Urban Institute found that a “high risk” scenario could result not only in Black and Hispanic households being undercounted nationally by almost 4 percent, but  also in white households being overcounted by .03 percent nationally.

This raises concerns that “one group will benefit more than it should at the expense of others,” the Institute’s vice president and chief methodologist, Robert Santos, said.

Fight back against the shortchanging of Black communities. Find out how on the 2020 Census National Tele-Town Hall.




Marian Wright Edelman

ChildWatch: God Help Us to End Poverty In Our Time

[October 18–20, 2019] is our 28th Annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration, “Uniting Hearts and Voices to End Child Poverty,” when people of every religion will reflect on and respond to the sacred texts, teachings, and traditions that call us to end poverty and act with love and justice to ensure all children have what they need not only to survive but thrive and realize their God given potential. We hope you will join us.


God help us to end poverty in our time.


The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.


The poverty of watching your child suffer and get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don’t have a car or health insurance.


The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of somebody else’s children and neglecting your own and still being unable to pay your bills.


The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you’ll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job because you cannot find reliable child care or transportation to work.


The poverty of working all your life caring for your children and others and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.


The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, and taking home $300 a week if you’re lucky.


The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation—having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you’re living or dead.


The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry.


The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others, of emptiness and enslavement to things, drugs, power, violence, and fleeting fame.


The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, weak will and tiny vision, big meetings and small actions, loud talk and sullen grudging service.


The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God’s gifts of life and children and family and freedom and country and not wanting for others what you want for yourself.


The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming, and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the non-needy and strong.


The poverty of addiction to drugs, to drink, to work, to self, to the status quo, and to injustice.


The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think and know is right.


The poverty of despair and cynicism.


God help us end poverty in our time in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere.


God please help us to come together and raise our voices to end poverty on Your earth in all its guises—inside and out—physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that You intend in the world You created for us to share.



Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Congressional District 5

Hoyer, Brown Meet with U.S. Census Bureau Employees

SUITLAND, Md. (October 8, 2019)—[Last week], Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) and Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04) met with Census employees and representatives from AFGE to discuss preparations for the 2020 Census. They also spoke about the importance of ensuring the U.S. can recruit and retain the best civil service possible and protecting their pay and benefits.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Census employees and representatives from AFGE this morning in Suitland,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Ensuring every American is counted during the 2020 Census is critically important. Every ten years, the Census determines critical decisions for our communities, including how federal resources are allocated for public health, transportation, education and workforce training, and other services. It also is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is why it is so important that the process not be politicized as the Trump Administration sought to do. We must work together as a community to ensure that no one is left out. I join in thanking the federal employees who work at the Census Bureau for the critically important work they do. I will continue to stand with AFGE and federal workers across the country to ensure our civil servants can accomplish their work on behalf of the American people and receive fair pay and benefits.”

“The dedicated employees of the U.S. Census are at frontlines as we work together to ensure a fair and accurate count in Maryland and across the country in 2020,” said Congressman Brown. “The census determines how state and federal dollars are invested in local communities and will impact funding for education, public health, housing and infrastructure. For every Marylander who isn’t counted, the state stands to lose up to $2,000. I am committed to doing everything we can to boost education and outreach efforts to bolster participation—especially in our hard-to-count neighborhoods—and ensure every person understands the importance of answering the census questions.”


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