Coalition mobilizes leaders to proclaim ‘Be Counted’ message

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BULLS BASKETBALL PLAYER Denzel Valentine records PSA in support of Census. Posing with Cynthia Williams and team from Austin People’s Action Committee.

Series of new PSAs with celebrities, pastors and elected leaders to support a multi-front digital campaign to encourage Census 2020 participation

The Counting on Chicago Coalition (COCC) has enlisted the help of high- profile public influencers for a series of public service announcements (PSAs) to encourage the public to “Be Counted.” It’s just the latest vehicle in a comprehensive push to secure a complete count of hard-to-reach populations in Chicago.

Among those featured in the PSAs are Chicago Bulls player Denzel Valentine, Former Bulls, Craig Hodges and Cliff Levingston, hip-hop recording artist Twista, along with elected officials U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, Illinois Rep. LaShawn Ford and Illinois Rep. Camille Lilly.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, COCC has taken the census message almost entirely online through interactive website content, streaming PSAs and social media content.

Also, part of the effort is engaging with more than 200 churches via streaming worship “Census Sunday” services, asking congregants to pledge online to respond to the census and help spread the word on the importance of the 2020 count. This effort has reached over 100,000 congregants.

”We must not let CONVID-19 scuttle the importance of everyone being counted in the 2020 Census,” said Donald Dew, COCC Regional Intermediary, and President/CEO of Habilitative Systems, Inc. “It’s imperative that everyone participates because the census shapes our communities, our lives and the lives of our families. We will leave no stone unturned to make sure folks know how important this is because we will live with the results for a decade.”

The results of the 2020 Census will be used to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, road and other public services, determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and help communities prepare to meet transportation and emergency readiness needs.

Census 2020 requires answering nine questions and takes about ten minutes. It’s designed to count every person in every household, including adults, children and babies living or staying at an address. Go to my2020census.gov to complete 2020 Census online. Anyone needing help completing the 2020 Census questionnaire can call toll-free 1-844-330-2020. Questions can also be texted to 987987.

Counting on Chicago Coalition is available to help people through the process. For more information, visit www.countingonchicago.org. To view and share the PSAs, visit COCC’s social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and Twitter.

With a membership of over 18 community and faith-based organization, COCC is the largest regional organization in Illinois. Established to ensure inclusion of Chicago’s historically undercounted and marginalized population in the 2020 Census, COCC has made spreading the message Be Counted a priority.

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