Dear Friends,

The impacts of COVID-19 have made information essential to our daily lives on a scale we have not seen before. Something positive we can take from all of this news is the long overdue narrative we are seeing for frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, janitors, caregivers, law enforcement officers, grocery clerks, mail carriers, and delivery drivers have all been justifiably lifted up as heroes, and we are learning about their stories. It shows that when a true narrative is told, we can do better.

Narratives are not only stories; they are power.

One of the recurring themes we’ve heard while on our southern listening tour was the role narrative plays in how people are perceived and, as a result, how they are treated. An essential piece of the work of E Pluribus Unum is to correct the false narratives that have kept so many people on the fringes and replace them with new narratives that help us define our common humanity and interdependence on one another.

If we learn nothing else during this global pandemic, let us learn that. This summer, we will be launching a new narrative project specifically with this goal in mind. Stay tuned for more.

One way we can change existing narratives is to ensure our government’s makeup is more representative of the population as a whole. To that end, the census plays an important role in making our government and systems more representative and accountable. Check out more info on why the census is important in building power and why it’s important that we help the many southern states who are behind target right now.

Stay safe and stay connected.

Mitch Landrieu
Founder and President


A census form takes only a few minutes to complete but impacts funding and political representation for a decade. It’s a simple act of democracy with a lingering impact, so although the COVID-19 pandemic has diverted attention and resources, we can’t afford to overlook the importance of the 2020 Census – or the important work that’s needed to ensure that it provides a fair and accurate count of people living in America.

Read the rest of our blog post on the 2020 Census. 


News and stories about how southern communities are reacting to COVID-19

Alabama: Good Hope, AL is awarding weekly prizes for residents that complete the 2020 Census.

Arkansas: The mayor of Sulphur Springs says that without a large tax base, the city’sonly saving grace is the money it’s expecting from the census.

Georgia: The City of East Point in partnership with the New Georgia Project hosted acensus tele-count to encourage residents to complete the 2020 Census.

Texas: City leaders in Edcouch, Elsa, and La Villa are working to make sure their residents are counted in the 2020 Census.

West Virginia: State officials and volunteer groups are working on ways to navigate around the coronavirus as West Virginia’s response rate for the 2020 Census remains low; one tactic being used to encourage more responses is by making it a competition.

Recent News & Commentary

News, opinion pieces and research from across the country on the coronavirus South lags in replying to census, and Alabama could pay for it

The U.S. Census Bureau is undertaking its once-in-a-decade count of the U.S. population, and fewer than half of Alabama households have participated. It’s a trend that can be seen across the South – especially the Deep South – and it could have big consequences.

Associated Press: Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries
The U.S. Census Bureau needs more time to wrap up the once-a-decade count because of COVID-19, opening the possibility of delays in drawing new legislative districts that could help determine what political party is in power, what laws pass or fail and whether communities of color get a voice in their states.

Our Count: Census 101: The Census Explained
The results of the 2020 Census and elections will shape the course of our nation for decades to come. The census form is open nationwide online, by telephone, or with a paper questionnaire.

Market Watch: How COVID19 could affect the 2020 Census
The census count controls how each state is represented in and funded by the government. Here’s how COVID-19 is influencing the response rates.


There is an opportunity for each of us to do our part during this pandemic. Click the link to see a list of volunteer opportunities and ideas to provide aid, relief, and comfort while still observing precautions that will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

America’s Food Fund 
COVID-19 has left millions unsure where their next meal will come from. The Emerson Collective, Leonardo DiCaprio and Apple launched America’s FoodFund, supporting Feeding America and World Central Kitchen. Click to donate.

National Urban League’s Make Black Count Initiative
For far too long, black communities have been undercounted and left out of the allocation of federal dollars for roads, schools, and hospitals. NUL is committed to ensuring that every person of color is counted this year. Make Black Count today by filling out the census, and checking “black.”

Fair Count
Fair Count is dedicated to partnering with Hard to Count (HTC) 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. Learn why the 2020 Census matters and how to make sure you are counted in it.