In Times of Crisis and Times of Calm, Our Community Counts

Posted by Irene Rojas-Carroll on April 2, 2020

Bay Rising has been gearing up for the 2020 Census for over a year now. Our outreach strategy involved 15 partner organizations and nearly 50 organizers, each group with dozens of canvassers and volunteers at the ready. Our aim was to reach 500,000 people in person and online, in eight languages and across five counties.

But the new coronavirus had other plans.

With the entire Bay Area sheltering-in-place, our Census campaign has had to evolve. Our campaign will look different, but it will continue. Because in times like these, it’s as important as ever that our communities count.

Our government uses Census data to make sure we can protect everyone during a disaster. An accurate Census count means quality emergency services and health centers, as well as lunches for kids, safer roads in our neighborhoods, and fair political representation.

In order to care for each other, we need to make sure everyone participates in the Census, especially the most vulnerable members of our community.

So here’s what we’re doing:

  • Our massive field outreach campaign is going digital. We can’t knock on doors or leave door hangers without risking spreading the virus. Our staff are centrally coordinating digital ads in multiple languages. We’re designing a full digital outreach plan with memes, photos, and videos to reach 15,000 hard-to-count Bay Area residents and the community at large. 
  • We’re building capacity in new ways. We were supporting hundreds of staff and leaders at member organizations in door-to-door campaigning, communications and cultural strategies, and leadership development. Now that this moment requires campaigning online and by phone, we’re focusing on making sure our member organizations have all the support they need to do cutting-edge digital organizing. Bay Rising is creating a social media toolkit so groups have content ready to post and use right away. We’re also helping community groups set up text banks and phone banks, because many of our hard-to-reach residents don’t have consistent access to the internet.
  • We’re redesigning community events. Many of our partners had cultural projects and creative events planned. We’re helping make sure that those concerts, performances, and parties weren’t planned for nothing, and that we continue to work with artists and creatives to reach out to folks about the Census. Stay tuned.

Here at Bay Rising, we know that we pull through this by pulling together. Our communities have always been resilient in times of crisis. We got this.

Visit My2020Census.gov to fill out the Census today.

Looking for an activity for the whole family while you stay safe at home? Have a Census party! Fill out your confidential and anonymous Census form, then hop on the phone or online and ask ten friends and family to do the same.