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Many of the people Kidpower serves live in the U.S., and we are speaking up today about a safety problem U.S. residents have a limited window of time to help prevent.

Please make sure you and your loved ones are counted in the U.S. Census, which started March 12th and will stop taking responses in just two and a half weeks on April 1st.

Making sure you are counted will help secure federal and state resources and representation that you, your family, and your community will rely upon for the next decade.

Children are one of many ‘hard to count’ populations in the census, so they are particularly vulnerable to the lasting negative effects of being left out of the count.

Please, do not allow overwhelm about the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak stop you from participating in the Census by April 1st. The resulting undercount would deny resources that our families and communities will need to be healthy and safe in similar disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and other crises; as well as under-representing chronic community concerns for the next TEN YEARS.

Fear and rumors are leading some to be wary about participating in the Census, and this increases the risk of a particularly harmful undercount. For example, many people believe that the Census includes a question about citizenship status — It Does Not.

Each of us can help take away the power fear and rumors can have on our well-being by first turning to trusted sources, including nonprofits you already respect, to check our own understanding and then share in our communities vetted, accurate information about the Census; its questions, and why participating makes such a big difference. This can reduce the chance that fear will result in an undercount that would harm vulnerable and hard-to-count populations — who are often the very people who are most afraid to participate.

You can read the questions and see sample copies of the form here. You can learn and ask about 2020 Census Rumors here.

We appreciate the importance of directing attention to the current COVID-19 health crisis and are taking action to support health and safety during this outbreak. At the same time, our “Stay Safe in Your Imagination” article (available in English, Spanish, and French) encourages people to ask themselves, after getting centered and addressing immediate concerns, “are there important topics I have lost sight of while I have been focusing all my time on thinking about the novel coronavirus?”

If you live in the U.S., it’s possible you could lose track of the 2020 Census and the important role it plays in your family’s and community’s health for years to come. Losing sight of the importance of the Census at this time would be normal! We understand that it can seem irrelevant and unimportant – but it is actually plays a crucial, unique role in health and safety.

The good news is, now is the time to make sure you and your loved ones are counted. Until April 1st, you have the power to speak up and be counted. Please don’t wait. You won’t have this unique opportunity to support health and safety for your family and community in this way again for 10 years. Please make it count! 

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Published: March 15, 2020   |   Last Updated: March 15, 2020

Erika Leonard manages our California center, trains and mentors instructors, and is a Kidpower Senior Program Leader.