Building Grassroots Power through the Census

Not only have SCSJ’s community partners throughout the South been working hard to reduce the undercount, but they have also been using the census as an organizing tool for building sustainable grassroots power. Sixty-eight organizations in five states – VA, NC, GA, FL and LA – have implemented their own unique outreach projects through funds from SCSJ’s mini-grant program. These groups and other organizations are collaborating with the communities they support and are a part of – disenfranchised communities that the Census Bureau has struggled to count for decades, such as working-class families, communities of color, homeless people and new immigrant communities.
Conducting outreach around the census has been a fantastic opportunity for grassroots community organizations to build their base, strengthen their capacity, and cultivate relationships with other progressive and grassroots organizations. In Guildford County, NC, various groups joined forces to form the Census Community Coalition, with strong representation from the Latin@ community, the Arab/Middle Eastern community, African immigrant groups, the Montagnard Dega community, the African-American community, and local student groups.
Organizations like FaithAction International House, Montagnard Dega Association, La Vela Center, and the Islamic Center of the Triad have collaborated to develop their grassroots analysis of the census while sharing resources and strategies. Some examples of outreach in their communities include door-to-door canvassing, church announcements, flyering at local events, and new technology messaging through YouTube videos. Working off of their census partnerships, this coalition and others across the south will continue to mobilize and politicize their constituents and membership, through redistricting and beyond.
Haven’t been counted in the census yet? Not sure? Call the Census Bureau’s hotline to get counted or have your questions answered.