NEW YORK, -- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund ("LDF") launched Count on Change 2010, a strategic, collaborative, national public education campaign designed to substantially improve the inclusion of the Black Diaspora in the 2010 Census.
"The 2000 Census overlooked 1 million people of color, more than 600,000 of whom were African American. The distribution of federal funds to state, county and municipal governments and the distribution of political power at every level of government depend on the Census. With just over 100 days until April 1st, 2010, Census Day, improving the accuracy of the 2010 Census is of critical importance to the Black Diaspora. We cannot afford to be excluded from the count again in 2010," said John Payton, Director Counsel and President of the LDF.
Focusing on Black communities that face the greatest risk of omission from the census, Count on Change 2010 aims to increase the final Census response rate by ten percent, resulting in an additional $633,000,000 in federal and state funding for hard-to-count Black communities.
Count on Change 2010 is a collaboration of the nation's leading civil rights organizations -- LDF, the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation. The program will harness the momentum of the historic 2008 Presidential election cycle to improve administration of the 2010 Census in Black communities. Count on Change 2010 includes user-friendly print materials and a dynamic website and explanatory video, available atwww.countonchange2010.org. All materials are focused on the specific impact that potential undercounting in the 2010 Census could have on Black communities.
The 2010 Census threatens to undercount the same segments of the Black community that were missed in 2000 -- the poor, the mobile, and children. At the same time, new groups are now at risk of exclusion in the 2010 Census, including those African Americans disproportionately impacted by the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the hundreds of thousands displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- the most significant dislocation of Black communities since the great urban migration of the 20th century.
Count on Change 2010 will focus its efforts on improving African American confidence in the census-taking process by first encouraging all communities to complete and return Census questionnaires and, for those who don't return or receive the forms, urging cooperation with those Census Bureau workers who will conduct home visits.
"Full participation and inclusion in the 2010 Census is essential for the Black community, and Count on Change 2010partners are among the most trusted African American organizations in the country," said Ryan P. Haygood, Co-Director of LDF's Political Participation Group. "Our organizations are best positioned to serve as credible messengers throughout the Census process and we will work to foster confidence among hard-to-count Black communities across the country. At the same time, we will hold the Census Bureau accountable for exhausting every effort to count all members of the Black Diaspora."
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is America's legal counsel on issues of race. Through advocacy and litigation, LDF focuses on issues of education, voter protection, economic justice and criminal justice. We encourage students to embark on careers in the public interest through scholarships and internship programs. LDF pursues racial justice to move our nation toward a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all.
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SOURCE NAACP Legal Defense Fund