As Congressman John Lewis reminded the nation shortly before leaving us, "Democracy is not a state. It is an act." Defending our democracy is a constant act of participating in opportunities to engage and make our voices heard.
Voting is an essential part of that, and I am excited and hopeful to see so many people my age — and younger — engaged in the process, but our individual responsibility to engage does not stop with the act of voting.
As emerging young leaders continue seeking new ways to advance and preserve our democracy, I encourage us all to pursue opportunities to get involved in other areas that require our attention — like the 2020 census.
The census is an opportunity to make our voices heard — and it's a moment that comes around only every ten years.
Our participation in the census is essential to shaping the future of our friends, families, and neighbors. The census gives us all the chance to chart our own paths forward, ensuring that the regions we live in receive the transformative support that may be necessary for communities to be healthy, prepared, and continually thriving.
So what exactly is the census and its role in our society? Here's the TLDR (too long; didn't read) version:
- Census data is used to adjust or allocate how many congressional representatives a state has based on its population size.
- The census will inform allocation of federal funding to communities across the country, impacting hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services.
- Businesses will refer to census data when considering communities for increased investment or expansion.
We have an opportunity right now to shape our future in a way that uplifts and supports communities across the country so that each one of us can thrive.
Spending the very little time it takes to fill out the census will directly affect the places we love and live in for the next decade. So as you all continue mapping out your voting plans ahead of this year's uniquely challenging election, take four minutes to fill out the census at my2020census.gov.
Just as every vote counts, so does every person.