Stacey Abrams and Mitch Landrieu Mobilize the South to Get Counted as Census Draws to a Close
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2020
Jason Ludwig, 480-567-2785, JasonL@FairCount.org
Ryan Berni, 504-417-1933, Ryan@unumfund.org
NEW ORLEANS — Fair Count Founder Stacey Abrams and E Pluribus Unum Founder Mitch Landrieu have wrapped up their Census in the South: Road to Recovery, a virtual bus tour across six Southern states encouraging people to complete the 2020 census as the first critical step for communities recovering from the pandemic. In a kickoff conversation that aired on Facebook and YouTube, Abrams and Landrieu sounded the alarm that the 2020 Census is on track to drastically undercount the South, and in particular, communities of color.
While there’s been progress in recent weeks, the overarching facts haven’t changed: The 2020 Census is on track to drastically undercount Southern residents. Following a challenged and rushed census, the South is poised to lose out on much of its fair share of resources and political power after already having lost a staggering amount of battles against COVID-19.
With high COVID-19 rates in the South and the looming threat of an inaccurate census count that will rob communities across the country of resources they need to recover from the pandemic, communities of color are facing an uphill battle.
“We launched the Road to Recovery bus tour to sound the alarm that the South is on the verge of losing our fair share of resources and political power for the next decade,” Abrams said. “We’re organizing and mobilizing individuals who care about the future of their communities, and we’re reaching out with trusted voices through avenues already in use for information. With the census ending imminently, we must do absolutely everything we can to get a fair count, and we’re pulling out all the stops in a virtual environment.”
The shortening of the 2020 Census, already challenged by COVID-19, has placed America’s democracy in a precarious state. As of September 30, the national response rate is 98.7%, but nearly every Southern state trails the average, with seven of the bottom 10 states from the South.
“Like all the crises that have come before and will come after it, this pandemic has magnified our nation’s deep structural inequities—particularly for those of us living in the South, COVID-19 is a threat to our humanity, exacerbating disparities that have been allowed to fester for generations,” Landrieu said. “The coronavirus pandemic has forcefully reminded us of the importance of having comprehensive approaches to disaster preparedness, including adequate resources and strong leadership. It’s a painful illustration of why a complete census count is so critical.”
The 2020 Census will direct more than $1.5 trillion through more than 300 programs for the next decade, and it will determine how political power is divided up through reapportionment and redistricting. Without a major final push, communities could get far less than they truly need, and the ramifications will be felt nationwide as it would guarantee a crippled systemic response that underfunds schools, hospitals and disaster recovery for years.
“We have too much at risk to sit this out,” Landrieu added. “We need everyone to help ensure a complete count in these final days.”
The virtual bus tour made stops in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, reaching nearly 17,000 people virtually. Census in the South organizations also hosted telephone town halls that reached more than 35,000 additional residents.
Responding to the census is safe, secure and available in multiple languages. If you have not yet completed the 2020 census, visit www.My2020Census.gov and complete it online. To complete the census by phone, call 1-844-330-8282.
About Fair Count
Founded by Stacey Abrams in 2019, Fair Count is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to partnering with hard-to-count communities to achieve a fair and accurate count of all people in Georgia and the nation in the 2020 Census and to strengthening the pathways to greater civic participation. For more information, please visit www.FairCount.org.
About E Pluribus Unum
Founded by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2018, E Pluribus Unum (EPU) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting the barriers that have long divided the region by race and class. Incubated at Emerson Collective, EPU is focused on changing the divisive narratives that perpetuate systemic and interpersonal racism, cultivating and empowering courageous leaders who are advancing racial equity, and championing transformative policy change. To learn more, visit www.unumfund.org.