Gathering Point Community Council and The Greater Chatham Alliance To Organize Major Effort to Encourage South Side Residents to Participate in the 2020 U.S. Census

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Team Members Will Go Door-to-Door in two of Chicago’s Most Populated Zip Codes: 60619 and 60620

Press Conference at 1p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

As the head of two influential South Side community organizations, the pastor of a Auburn Gresham church, the owner of several businesses and a former candidate for alderman and state offices, Richard Wooten has built a strong reputation for recruiting residents to take action.

Now, he is leading a new effort to make sure all residents in Chicago’s zip codes 60619 and 60620 are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. This is no easy task as residents in these two predominantly black areas have been under counted for decades with an estimated 64,000 residing in 60619 and another 70,000 in 60620. But this year and this decade, making sure everyone is counted in two of the city’s most populated zip codes is more critical than ever in the African American community, where an estimated 350,000 black Chicgoans have migrated from the city over the past three decades.

At its peak of 1.2 million black residents in 1980, Chicago had one of the largest concentration of black people in the world. During this era, Chatham became one of the nation’s first black middle-class enclaves. But out migration, struggling public schools, rising crime, taxes and other urban issues have created difficult times for Chatham and other once strong enclaves on Chicago’s South Side. Wooten and other community leaders believe the census offers a solution to re-establish the neighborhoods to their glory years. The census means money and power, he says.

On Wednesday, February 26, from 11 AM to 1:00PM, Wooten and the two organizations are convening with pastors and other community leaders to launch outreach efforts to make sure everyone in the two zip codes are counted. In addition to spreading the word about the need for residents to complete the questionnaire, the outreach workers will assist residents in completing the census.

The organizations are hosting a press conference on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 1 p.m., at 9050 S. Ashland Ave., in Chicago, to announce their strategies for making sure residents in these “hard to count” zipcodes are participating in the U.S. Census.

During tomorrow’s meeting, which will take place at the Ashland Avenue location prior to the press event, the two organizations will educate prospective team members about the census as well as train them how to collect the data. Residents, who have not participated in the census, will also be able to complete their census questionnaire on site, a location Wooten refers to as a “safety center.”  During the meeting, Wooten will also explain the different job assignments and compensation for the assignments.

For Wooten, the community wide effort is bigger than collecting the questionnaires for the federal government.

“We want everyone to be counted, but we do not want to leave them with the feeling that all we want is for them to be counted,” Wooten said. “We want the community to stay informed and involved in the safety of their community. That is why we are establishing safety centers for the community to have a confidential place to learn about the census and complete their questionnaire, but a place that will continue to serve and train them how to reclaim their neighborhoods. With this data, we will make our neighborhoods safe and vibrant where they will once again attract new residents, just as they did during the great Black Migration and the1950s and 60s.”

Richard Wooten, The Crime Agitator, is a longtime Chicago police officer, a community advocate and the founder and president of the Gathering Point Community Council. Gathering Point, a 501 c (3) non-for-profit organization was established in 1998 as a mentoring organization for at risk youth. In time, Gathering Point has evolved to become Gathering Point Community Council, an organization dedicated to restoring values in at risk communities through the philosophy of for the people, by the people. The organization also works to improve relations between law enforcement officials and citizens. For additional information about Gathering Point Community Council visit  https://www.gatheringpointcommunitycouncil.com/  http://www.crimeagitatorapp.com

The Greater Chatham Alliance (GCA) is committed to serving the residents of Chatham, one of the nation’s first black middle-class neighborhoods. https://www.greaterchatham.com/

For additional information about the o arrange interviews, please contact Jerry Thomas, jerry@jerrythomaspr.com (312) 414-4016.

WHO: Members from the Gathering Point Community Council and The Greater Chatham Alliance along with pastors and community leaders

WHAT:  Press Conference

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 1 p.m. CT

WHERE: Gathering Point Universal Ministries, 9050 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago

WHY: To encourage South Side residents to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census, an effort organizers believe can help re-establish black enclaves like Chatham

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