Did you know that Brooklyn had the lowest self-response rate of any borough in New York City in the 2010 Census?
Brooklyn's average self-response rate was just 55% in 2010. Compared to the citywide average self-response rate of 62% and the national average self-response rate of 76%, we know Brooklyn can do better! That's why on November 26, NYC Census 2020 held the first of many borough-wide Neighborhood Organizing Census Committee (NOCC) teach-ins at the Brooklyn Public Library.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 140 volunteers, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, and Assembly Member Walter Mosley (D-Crown Heights) kicked the night off with rousing speeches. All of these leaders detailed the devastating impact an undercount could have in Brooklyn — and why it's so critical that we all get counted. The night finished with a detailed presentation led by NYC Census 2020 Field Director Kathleen Daniel, community advocates, and NYC Census 2020 field staff about what the census is, how it works, and why it’s so important for the future of our communities.
"The census is your RSVP to the party we call 'living in America,'" explained Field Director Daniel.
One important reason for having a complete and accurate "RSVP": our fair share of more than $650 billion in federal funding for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and so much more is at stake.
"It's real money," Borough President Adams reminded the crowd. "It's real money for our homes, it's real money for our schools, it's real money for the entire infrastructure of our borough ... [But] this isn't just a fight about money. This is a fight about who we are as a country. This is a fight about who we want to be. This is a fight about what kind of future our kids are going to have. And it is a fight, and we intend to fight."
The city is divided into 245 NOCCs to make sure every neighborhood has local New Yorkers on the ground helping to get out the count — and your NOCC needs your help! If you haven't already, sign up to join your local NOCC and help make sure your neighborhood is fully counted. It can be as easy as phone-banking, canvassing, or even hosting your own teach-in for your friends, family, and neighbors.
The Brooklyn teach-in was a great reminder of the power that our communities hold to shape our future. After signing up for their NOCCs, attendees spoke about how much they'd learned and the new sense of purpose they found in the 2020 Census. If New York City can keep organizing like this, there's nothing that can stop us.