As New York City has been fighting the unprecedented global pandemic of COVID-19 over the past many months, it’s been our frontline workers who have been keeping the city fed, safe, moving, clean — and protected from COVID-19.
Black New Yorkers have been on the front lines of this fight. And as they’ve waged this fight, something has been happening this entire time in the background that will alter the course of New York City’s future — and in particular for Black communities.
That’s the 2020 Census.
The census, which has historically significantly undercounted Black and Brown New Yorkers, is the basis on which New York City gets the money, power, and respect that it is rightfully owed.
If we don’t achieve a complete and accurate count, the decisions about us are going to be made without us, and we’ve fought too hard for too long to let that happen.
So to keep frontline workers — and the healthcare, education, emergency response, and transportation systems they run — fully resourced for the next 10 years and beyond, we need every single New Yorker to complete the 2020 Census.
Luckily, it’s never been easier. You can go online to my2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020 right now and answer 10 simple questions in just 5 minutes. Your information is 100% confidential and protected by law.
Dr. Ebony Copeland is an adolescent medicine specialist at Morris Heights Health Center in The Bronx who has been living in Harlem for six years.
“Well, I always wanted to be a doctor. The historical skepticism or distrust of Black people for government, government programs, medicine, medical institutions is very much warranted and understood. But, the numbers matter. The numbers really matter, especially in a city like this where there's so many people. Every person counts, especially with something like the census. “
Thierno Younoussa Bah is a courier originally from Guinea in West Africa, who has been living in the US for 18 years and in NYC for eight years.
“The resources that I have [are] very limited. The frontline workforce has a lot of faces. It is the Black community that is struggling to survive. Everyone is struggling more than ever because of the lack of resources given to them. [The census] is the only way that we will get the funding that we need. So please go and fill out the census.”
Verna Ferguson is an Administrative Housing Superintendent who works in NYCHA’s Emergency Services Department. She has been a member of the NYCHA family for 35 years.
“We are standing up to be counted and we want more resources for our communities. We want to continue to grow. Because you are counted, you are somebody. Fill out the census and be counted. Let the world know that our community is here.”
Alpha Barry Livery is a driver from Guinea, West Africa who has been living in NYC and currently resides in Harlem.
“As a New Yorker, I feel like I'm doing my part. Respect your neighbors and your elders. Your neighbors need you out there – your friends, family. We need each other. If you sit and put your hands in your pocket you're not gonna get what's out there.”
Islah (Izzie) Tauheed is a second-grade teacher at PS 567 in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. Islah grew up in Newark but has been working in NYC for 9 years.
“The Black community has a right to be skeptical. This is an opportunity for us to share our voice. If you are going to say your voice matters, if you're going to say that you want to be heard, then you have to speak up.”
Tabytha Gonzalez is a Black and Latina trans woman who has been living in NYC since childhood. Tabytha is an educator and advocate for the Black, transgender, and Bronx communities.
“The Black community, we are the most underserved and the trans community are the most marginalized. I go to work because I know there's a need, if I don't show then who will? If I'm not there for my community, who will? For the lives of yourself and your neighbors. As a Black trans woman, I do this for my community so that another trans person and my trans youth will have a better tomorrow.”
Ensure all New Yorkers are getting the funding and representation they deserve. Fill out the census now: my2020census.gov
Help spread the word. Share our social media graphics to encourage other New Yorkers to fill out the census: on.nyc.gov/OnTheFrontLines