By Warren C. Evans and Byron Nolen
The 2020 Census will officially take place on April 1, 2020. That may seem a ways off, but the stakes of the census are high. We cannot afford a moment of complacency.
People of color, along with other groups including seniors, students, and rural residents, have been undercounted by previous censuses. This not only affects representation in Congress and Lansing, but federal funding for essential programs in our communities like health care, roads, and schools. Every person who isn't counted in the 2020 Census will mean our communities lose about $1,800 annually in federal aid. The loss of funding will directly affect our quality of life in Wayne County.
In our divisive national political climate, we know many people are apprehensive about providing this kind of information to the federal government. We understand that apprehension. However, participating in the census is safe.
Dishonest and malicious people may try to scare you into not participating in the census, but pay no mind to that fear-mongering. Avoiding the census can only hurt our communities and the programs your friends, family, and neighbors rely on every day.
The information you provide will only be used by the Census Bureau to understand the size and scope of the American population. When you complete your census form, you can be confident the information won't be shared with ICE, the IRS, or non-governmental entities like collections agencies. In fact, federal law prevents other government agencies from accessing census data for 70 years.
To help raise awareness of the 2020 Census and encourage participation, the City of Inkster and Wayne United (Wayne County's diversity and inclusion program) is hosting a street fair on Saturday August 17 from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM. This free event will take place on Inkster Road between Michigan and Avondale. In addition to census information, the event will feature family-friendly activities including carnival games and food trucks. There will be a backpack giveaway as well. In the evening, a line-up of music performers headlined by Inkster native J Reed will take the stage beginning at 6:00 PM.
We hope to see you there, and most importantly, we hope you'll complete your census form when you receive it next spring.