WASHINGTON, -- Sunday, May 30, 2010 marks the first Sunday of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (The National Coalition) month-long push to encourage hard-to-reach residents in the black community to participate in the 2010 Census. The National Coalition's Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC) has partnered with the National African American Clergy Network for the "Count on Me – Count Me In Census Campaign," a national initiative to stress the importance of participating in the census and urge church congregants who have not filled out a Census form to cooperate with census takers or call in their census forms immediately.
Specially designed Census toolkits are being distributed to members of the faith community to prepare faith leaders to address questions related to the 2010 Census. "Census Sunday Toolkits" include a sample church bulletin, pulpit announcement, a "Prayer for a Fair Census Count," and an introductory letter signed by twenty prestigious clergy including Bishop Paul Morton, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., and Reverend Dr. Cheryl Sanders. The toolkits also provide information on how to identify legitimate census workers.
"The Bible teaches that God and government are not in conflict," said Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention and co-facilitator of the National African American Clergy Network. "We are promoting full participation in the 2010 census so that our communities receive critically needed resources and services that are based on the census."
"We are encouraging clergy to make announcements in church bulletins, on websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and other media available," adds Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, president of Skinner Leadership Institute and co-facilitator of the African American Clergy Network.
The National Coalition's president and CEO, Melanie L. Campbell adds, "The Church has always played a defining role within the Black community. Our partnership with the National African American Clergy Network is a crucial element toward continuing to impact our communities. We can count on our faith leaders to make sure our community understands that it's not too late to participate in the 2010 Census."
The coalition is telling pastors to urge congregants who have not returned their form to cooperate with door-to-door Census workers or call the Census telephone questionnaire line to give answers over the phone.
The Unity Diaspora Coalition is an initiative of The National Coalition that brings together organizations representing the Black Diaspora. In addition to urging Black Americans to mail in their completed Census forms, their goal is to demonstrate unity among Blacks, and to encourage the Black immigrant community to check the "Black" box on question nine of the Census form, then write in their country of origin.
For more information on the UDC or to download a toolkit visit www.unitydiasporacoalition.net.
Contact the Census Bureau's Telephone Questionnaire Assistance line at 1-866-872-6868.
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Melanie L. Campbell
SOURCE National Coalition on Black Civic Participation