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Cook County joins with the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and Forefront for Census Awareness Month this June

Groups join forces to encourage all residents to self-respond

The Cook County Complete Count Commission is joining with the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago to call attention to the 2020 Census and encourage all residents to be counted. June has been officially designed as Census Awareness Month for the state, and each entity is working on new initiatives to increase engagement around the census and activate all residents to self-respond. Forefront, the Illinois statewide association providing education, advocacy, thought leadership, and facilitating collective action around issues that are important to the state, will be a central point of contact and facilitation for several activities associated with Census Awareness Month through their “IL Count Me In 2020 initiative.”

Earlier this week, Cook County and the (ICIRR) hosted an Immigrant and Refugee Census Day of Action.

June 19 has been designated as Black Census Day of Action and coincides with Illinois’ celebration of Juneteenth; and June 29 is LGBTQIA + Census Day of Action.

“The goal of designating June as Illinois Census Awareness Month is to lift up as many hard-to-count populations as possible and ensure communities all across Illinois are still getting counted through the extended self-response period. We need for Illinoisans to be counted for a better tomorrow,” said Anita Banerji of Forefront, and a commissioner of the Cook County Census Complete Count Commission.

Each commemoration will feature a collaborative social media ‘thunderclap’ that focuses on the importance of counting these unique populations in Illinois. A thunderclap is when messages featuring designated hashtags are posted during a specific time, thereby ensuring maximum exposure. Everyone is invited to post and should include the hashtags #CookCountyCensus #BeCounted and #ILCountMeIn2020 when posting. The County’s social sites are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Throughout June the messages will speak to the urgency of completing the 2020 Census, especially for hard to count communities, which include those living in underserved communities, those with limited English proficiency, seniors and those under the age of 5, the homeless, returning residents, LGBTQIA and those with a distrust of government. Cook County’s response rate to the 2020 Census sits at 60 percent and the state response rate is 65 percent. However, immigrant and disenfranchised communities have much lower rates, under 40 percent, necessitating additional education and outreach.

The Cook County Complete Count Census Commission’s Program Administrator, The William Everett Group (TWEG), will lead the coordinated campaign to engage Cook County residents during Census Awareness Month, with messaging via all of the County’s social media sites and media outreach via print, radio, and mobile messaging.

The County’s 84 grantees will also be actively engaged in their communities to call attention to the census and encourage their constituents to complete the 2020 Census form. Residents are encouraged to complete the census now by visiting. In most cases it takes less than 10 minutes. What is at stake is funding for the county over the next ten years, with each Cook County resident representing $1400 in funding for essential county services, $14,000 over a decade. Notably, as we work through the challenges presented by COVID-19, an accurate census count is integral to properly funding public health and safety. For more information visit CookCountyCensus2020.

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