NYC Census 2020 and Black front-line workers fighting COVID-19 launch campaign to count all New Yorkers

New York: NYC Census 2020, in partnership with BRIC, has launched “On the Front Lines”, a multimedia video, social media, and print campaign that features six Black New Yorkers who are front-line workers that have kept the city fed, safe, moving, and protected from COVID-19, speaking to New Yorkers in their own words about the critical importance of the census in keeping our healthcare, housing, transportation, and education systems fully funded and operational, both now and into the future.

In speaking directly about the census being the basis on which New York City — and Black communities in particular — can obtain the money, power, and respect they are rightfully owed, the campaign seeks to underscore the importance of the census to the city’s future.

“In order for the census to fulfill its true function as being the foundational exercise that allows for the functioning of our democracy and the equitable distribution of money and power across all 50 states, it is imperative that all Black and Brown communities in New York City participate in it,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives“If there is an undercount in the 2020 Census, there’s a real risk that New York State will lose representation in Congress and our fair share of $1.5 trillion in funding for education, housing, healthcare, and so much more. By participating, we will not allow racist or xenophobic attempts to manipulate the census against us to be successful.”

“The fight for civil rights and equity is not over. The census can be an instrument of justice, if – and only if – all New Yorkers are counted,” said NYC Census Director Julie Menin and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department. “The “On the Front Lines” campaign is the manifestation of our mission — to ensure that Black communities across New York City get the resources and the representation they are owed.”

“From COVID-19 to criminal justice, recent events have highlighted the countless injustices and inequalities that Black New Yorkers face every day, and made clear how much work we still have to do as a City and a nation in the ongoing fight for civil rights,” said Acting HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “Now, more than ever, it is vital that we listen to and hear the Black community, as we work to uplift and empower all of our most marginalized neighbors. The Census ensures that communities of color are represented in government and beyond and provided the resources they need and deserve to build a stronger and more equitable New York City.”

 “Throughout history, black and brown participation in the Census has been limited. Today, NYC is leading the way in ensuring our communities are counted in the census and thereby receive the full amount of federal funds they deserve,” said Jordan Stockdale, Executive Director of the Young Men’s Initiative. “It is quite simple; filling out the census will provide our communities with millions of dollars that increase opportunities for our young people, provide services to the elderly and strengthen our neighborhood infrastructure.”

 “Getting counted in the Census remains a powerful tool to ensure our continued cries for justice and change for Black New Yorkers are met with money, increased representation, and meaningful investments in community resources,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “For too long, Black New Yorkers, including Black immigrant New Yorkers have been undercounted in the census, and it’s left our communities underfunded and underrepresented. As we fight on for justice and equity, we cannot forget that the 2020 Census is central to this fight. Every New Yorker–regardless of background, immigration status, age, or what language you speak–can get counted.”

“As an arts and media organization committed to civic action, we recognize the fundamental importance of accurate representation in the census, especially among Black communities,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, BRIC’s President. “We are proud to work with the NYC Census 2020 team on this campaign to centralize the voices of the city’s Black essential workers.”

The campaign emphasizes the importance of New Yorkers self-responding immediately, as self-response data is vastly more accurate.

“Black New Yorkers have been undercounted in the Census for far too long,” said Marco A. Carrión, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “Ensuring our Black neighbors are counted gives us the ability to fight for the resources our historically marginalized communities deserve.”

“The inaugural census in 1790 denied the humanity of Black Americans and belied their contributions in the creation of our country and its freedoms. It has taken centuries to arrive at the 10 questions we have now, and although they are imperfect, these 10 questions on the census provide the keys to unlock the pathway to recovery from the pandemic of the COVID virus and the epidemic of systematic racism that has denied agency to the Pan-African communities in America,” said Kathleen Daniel, Field Director, NYC Census 2020. “This ad campaign demonstrates our position on the front lines and affirms our roles as equal partners in the architecture of our future.”

Census 2020: Important Facts

  1. The census is safe, easy, and important—and completely confidential. If your landlord rents your apartment illegally, your response cannot be used against you or your landlord in any way. There is no citizenship question or question about your immigration status on the census. 
  2. The census is available online and by phone this year: and 844-468-2020. You can complete your census from anywhere. You do not need a census form to fill out the census. All you need is your address to start the process at

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