PRESS RELEASE: Youth Ambassadors Conduct Census Outreach
Youth Ambassadors To Conduct Census Outreach in the District This Month
DC Action for Children, Black Swan Academy and Mikva Challenge DC will join forces
to reach some of the city’s hard to reach residents
Washington, DC (August 6)—DC Action for Children is partnering with Black Swan Academy and Mikva Challenge DC during August to sponsor census internships for District youth to conduct text-banking and outreach in their communities. Like numerous other localities across the country, the District of Columbia faces the prospect of having a severe undercount of its residents with a delayed, and now shortened, census season. An accurate, complete census is vital for the District’s children, youth, and local democracy. Census data determines the distribution of $6 billion in federal funding to the District every year, including $400 million for children in areas such as healthcare, WIC, child care, and public schools.
The Census Youth Ambassadors will use text banking to reach District residents and their families, friends, and neighbors, to encourage them to complete their family’s census form online or by phone before September 30, the official end of the 2020 Decennial Census. The Ambassadors will also use social media---including Instagram Live sessions---to engage other young people.
Ambassadors will begin the internship this week, and each will receive a stipend.
“If we don’t have an accurate count in the District, children and youth in every community will be harmed by a lack of funding for the next 10 years,” said Kimberly Perry, executive director of DC Action for Children. “Nearly a third of the District’s households have not yet responded, and our very young children and older youth are especially at risk of being missed. This is a timely opportunity to educate and train our young people about the importance of the data and the Census and position them to leverage their tech-savvy and personal relationships to ensure their communities respond to the Census.”
Robyn Lingo, executive director of Mikva DC, said, “In addition to COVID-19 challenges and the administration ending door-knocking outreach a month early, we already see inequitable disparities in Census form completion across DC. East of the River communities are at risk of being undercounted. In partnership with DC Action for Children, we are delighted to empower and compensate our Mikva DC youth. We believe that in these times, the youth leading purposeful outreach to their fellow Washingtonians about the importance of filling out the Census is especially appropriate. They will engage more of their peers in understanding the process and in providing a true representation of our overall population and the diversity of our city, and the needs of our residents.”
Black Swan Academy’s Project Manager Kawanza Billy agreed, saying, “The Black Swan Academy partnered with DC Action for Children because we both understand the importance of whole families being counted and equitably represented in Washington, DC. Our young people are passionate about service and raising awareness, and ensuring much-needed resources get to their communities is a way of doing that.”
The District of Columbia had the second-highest undercount rate of U.S. cities in the 2010 Census. DC’s Action’s goal with this partnership is to reach as many residents as possible this year.
DC Action for Children is a nonprofit, nonpartisan child and youth advocacy organization dedicated to using research, data, and a lens toward race equity to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. DC Action for Children and DC Alliance of Youth Advocates recently merged to form an even stronger, independent voice for children and youth. DC Action is the home of DC KIDS COUNT, the primary source for data on conditions and outcomes for kids’ well-being. DC Action's collaborative advocacy campaigns empower young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change. Learn more at www.dcactionforchildren.org or follow @DCAction4Kids on Twitter.