Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

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The 2020 Census is Now

March 4, 2020
Posted by: Jessica Trubowitch, Public Policy and Community Building Director

The election is in November but the 2020 Census is now! We need to pay attention!

There are two major political events happening this year, the November election and the 2020 Census. The first should come as no surprise: We cannot escape the political ads and news cycles glued to the campaign trail. But the census, although a major focus of our JCRC Democracy Initiative, seems to be attracting much less attention despite the fact that it, too, will have a large impact on the politics, policy and budget of the State of California for the next ten years and beyond.

When JCRC organized a meeting of Bay Area Jewish organizations to discuss the count, we discovered that few had taken the initiative to involve themselves. Fortunately, we were able to up the number to more than a dozen – but this is out of then more than 150 Jewish organizations and synagogues. With billions of federal funding dollars at stake and a seat in Congress on the line, we need to do better.  We have people in the Jewish community who may not know how or may not be able to answer the census on their own. Within the Jewish community there are populations that are going to be a challenge to count, including the elderly, the disabled, those who speak only Russian, new immigrants, unhoused or nontraditionally-housed individuals and families, and people without access to the internet.

We have resources in our community that can make it easier to count these “hard-to-count” populations. We have spaces that can be opened up for volunteers to help people fill out the census; we have people who speak languages besides English who can help English-language learners fill out the online form; and we have people who can go into senior- and elderly-care facilities to help with the count. Finally, we have pulpits and newsletters and meetings where we can get the word out to everyone we know to make sure they fill out the census form.

The 2020 Census is starting now. We can do a lot of good for the people of California if we take some time to make sure everyone is counted. There are many ways our community can help!