NAACP—how important is the census?

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By now I’m sure everyone knows about the 2010 Census. My question to you is do you know how important it is to fill out the form and mail it back?

MarcellaLee

Over the years we have been reluctant about the whole census process and there has been a lot of resistance to filling out the form or talking with the census takers. We have been reluctant because we thought it was the government’s way of having too much control over our lives, and they would know too much of our “business.” What we really needed was more information about the census, the reason we have a census, and how we can, and must, participate.

 

To explain, I will use the “who, what, why, where and when” formula. Who—all United States citizens must be counted. What—the census is a count of everyone residing in the United States of America. Why—the U.S. Constitution requires that a national census be taken once every 10 years to count the population. It is used to determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. Every year the federal government allocates more that $400 million to states and communities based in part on the census data. This same data is also used to determine the location of schools, hospitals, retail stores, housing developments and other community facilities, as well as to determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts. Where—every household will receive a form in the mail. You don’t have to go anywhere to pick one up. When—every household will have a questionnaire by the end of March 2010.

The form is easy to follow and the questions were easy to answer: Is the house rented or owned, the address of the residence; the name, gender, ages and race of those living in the household. May 1st is National Census Day. In May, individual census takers will visit households that have failed to return their questionnaire. In December, the Census Bureau delivers the count to the president of the United States. That’s the whole process.

I filled out my form in five minutes and mailed it back in the same day. If you forget to mail your form back in and a census taker comes to your door, please cooperate and encourage your family and friends to do the same. The 2010 Census and the faith-based community have partnered to help ensure that we are all counted and together we can make a difference. The NAACP Pittsburgh Branch has census information in the office if you should need assistance with filling out the form

Some important NAACP dates to remember: the 56th Annual NAACP Human Rights Dinner will be held May 6 at the Omni William Penn Hotel; the 101st NAACP Annual National Convention will be held in Kansas City, Mo., the week of July 10-15.

The Pittsburgh Branch Executive Committee and General Membership meetings will be held the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Check the Courier’s Community Calendar for places and dates. We will move the meeting to different locations around the city to try to accommodate our members. Remember that the general membership meetings are open to all active NAACP members and you are encouraged to attend. Keep in mind that we are a membership organization and all participation is voluntary. If you are not a member, or if your membership has lapsed, contact any NAACP officer, Executive Committee member or Richard Stewart, our membership chairperson to sign up now. A one-year membership is only $30.

The April meeting will be held April 13 at St. James AME Church, 444 Lincoln Ave., East Liberty. At this meeting, the NAACP will co-sponsor Dollar Bank’s Financial Education Seminars. Financial Literacy Topics will include: Managing a Checking Account; Savings and Budgeting; and Credit and Identity Theft.

Won’t you join us in our efforts to address some of the many issues that we are faced with on a daily basis? We need your help.

Still in the Struggle.

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