The 2020 Census begins their count of every person living in America in less than a month, and Running Strong is preparing to make sure Native Americans will not be left out. Our petition to make sure every Native American living off and on reservations gets counted in the 2020 Census recently surpassed 15,000 signatures. And, thanks to our patrons who came together to help us increase Native American representation in the census, Running Strong was able to begin shipping out our first round of computers this week to be used in community counting events.
Community counting events are a powerful tool for the census. When citizens are more informed about the census – what their privacy rights are, what questions to expect, how to make sure their tribe is accurately listed – they are more likely to be counted. A higher Native American turnout for the census distributes tax dollars more evenly, and increases federal funding for public programs such as Medicare, Head Start, public schools, and veterans affairs, all of which are of vital importance in Indian Country but are at greatest risk for becoming underfunded due to under counting.
Two of our program partners who will be receiving computers shared with us their plans for their community counting events.
Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul Department of Indian Work is planning their community counting event to be held on April 6 with additional “drop-in” hours from April 10 to April 15.
“We plan on engaging our community by word of mouth communication and by directly asking when they come to DIW,” says Abby Sunde, Emergency Services Coordinator at Interfaith Action. “We plan to combine this event with our regular food shelf service hours. If there are any tabling events we are participating in, we will bring the computer and make it available for people to participate in the census.”
The Denver Indian Family Resource Center is committing to a long-term counting event as well, keeping their doors open from April 1 to April 17.
“Denver Indian Family Resource Center is collaborating with the Denver Indian Center and the Denver Indian Health & Family Services to do outreach at various community events including the Denver March Pow Wow,” reported Tracey Broncho, the 2020 Census Outreach Contact at the DIFRC.
“Each of the three agencies have a designated part-time Census contact who will help with outreach and also support individuals to complete and submit the Census form.”