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Census 2020: Faith Leaders Work for Full Count of Racial, Ethnic Minorities

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Colorado receives $13 billion each year in federal funding based on census numbers for programs serving veterans, children, seniors, nutrition programs, education, health care and more. (Craig Adderley/Pexels)
Colorado receives $13 billion each year in federal funding based on census numbers for programs serving veterans, children, seniors, nutrition programs, education, health care and more. (Craig Adderley/Pexels)
 By Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO - Producer, Contact
March 3, 2020

DENVER -- Colorado's faith community is stepping up efforts to ensure historically undercounted racial and ethnic minority Coloradans participate in the 2020 census.

Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez with the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver said all people, regardless of race, religion or immigration status, are made in God's image and deserve to be counted. He sees participation as a moral obligation because of the impact it will have on programs families rely on.

"This is what is at the heart of the census," Rodiguez said. "It's not about numbers, it's about how these numbers will help us to put in place programs according to those numbers, according to those families and children."

Longstanding - and largely substantiated - distrust of government remains one of the biggest barriers for participation among communities of color, and faith leaders are reminding residents that all personal information collected in the census is confidential and cannot be shared with other government agencies.

Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald with the Hebrew Educational Alliance said because every human being is of immeasurable worth, all U.S. residents are worthy of being seen. When people fill out the census form, they are saying, "we are here, we are part of 'we the people.'"

"And every 10 years our country gets together to count every single person," Gruenwald said. "It's a mandate to count every person, and it also teaches a civics lesson that every person here counts, everybody has something to contribute."

This month, the U.S. Census Bureau will send an invitation by mail to every household. Responding should take about ten minutes to complete online, on paper to return by mail, or by telephone. Colorado receives $13 billion each year in federal funding based on census numbers, for nutrition programs, education, health care, programs for children, veterans, seniors, and more.

Census information is available in English here, or in Spanish here.

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