SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Census 2020 campaign announced expanding its outreach to Black Californians through a multimedia effort in partnership with Black-owned and operated media partners across California. Voice Media Ventures, a multimedia company and strategic communications firm, is working with these media partners, leveraging trusted messengers to motivate California’s hardest-to-count communities to participate in the 2020 Census.
“We are attempting to move the needle to address the traditional issues of distrust and educational gaps around the Census that impact participation rates of the Black community in California,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020. “Through our trusted partners, we are creating a surround-sound strategy to help ensure the hardest-to-count Californians complete the Census form.”
Voice Media Ventures has been leading community convenings and holding focus groups to assess Black Californians’ gaps in knowledge about the Census and what will motivate them to participate in the 2020 Census count. The information collected from these gatherings are being used to create culturally relevant messages for Black media partners to share with local communities.
“While the overall strategy for the communications campaign is to ensure the state is reaching the hardest-to-count Californians through trusted messengers, for outreach to the Black community, it was especially important to also work with Black owned and operated partners,” said Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, founder of Voice Media Ventures. “This is not only a partnership that involves innovative tactics, but also a social justice issue to ensure trusted partners on the ground are involved with Census work in California.”
Media partners involved in the campaign include: KDEE, Sacramento HUB, Sacramento Observer, East Palo Alto Today, Post News Group, Richmond Pulse, San Francisco Bay View, Sun Reporter Publishing Company, The Bay Area Review, 99One FM KJBU-LP, California Advocate, Central Valley Voice, Observer News Group, ONEMEDIA Central Valley, Inland Valley News, San Bernardino American News, The Precinct Reporter Group, Black Voice News, IE Voice, Westside Story News, Carib Press, Compton Herald, Inglewood Today, KJLH, LA Focus, LA Sentinel, LA Watts Times, LA Wave, Our Weekly, Pace News, Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal, San Diego Monitor, and San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.
In addition, Voice Media Ventures is working with the newly created Mapping Black California Census Lab, a collaborative community mapping project, incorporating technology, data, geography, and place- based study to better understand the African American community in California.
Research conducted on behalf of the Census campaign shows that African American communities may be more inclined to participate if the Census is framed as being done on behalf of their community.
This announcement builds on the Census campaign’s foundation of trusted messengers – community leaders, organizations and influencers who are working together to motivate California’s hardest-to-count communities to participate in the 2020 Census.
For example, My Black Counts is an education and awareness initiative convened by California Calls as part of The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub Project. As one of California’s outreach partners, California Calls has done outreach to Black populations throughout the State using door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and digital communication strategies.
“Throughout history, the Black community has fought for equity and to be represented on our own terms. We are always ready to unite in power to ensure that we are all counted,” said Kevin Cosney, Special Projects Manager of California Calls. “In order to ensure we get our fair share of resources and representation, Black Californians must stand up and be counted in the 2020 Census – and that’s the reason we’re working so hard to get the word out– so the community trusts and accepts ownership in the anthem, ‘My Black Counts.’”
The California Census has joined efforts with these partners in recognition of the need for more effective engagement with the Black population about the 2020 Census count. The Black population has historically been undercounted in past Census enumerations and the state is committed to changing that trend.
Last month, the campaign announced four Census Ambassadors who will leverage their voices and their networks throughout the campaign to educate and empower the hardest-to-count Californians to take part in the upcoming 2020 Census.
California is considered the hardest-to-count state in the nation, with high populations of immigrants, renters, individuals living on homes without a broadband subscription, people living close to or below the poverty line, and children younger than five years old. With billions of dollars in federal funding on the line, the campaign has assembled a historically diverse coalition comprising hundreds of partner organizations to help reach the hardest-to-count populations in California.
The California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office
Once each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count every person in the United States. Californians will be receiving an invitation to complete the Census form starting on March 12, with this enumerating being the first to rely heavily on online responses. California leaders have invested $187.2 million toward a statewide outreach and communication campaign. For more information, please go to https://californiacensus.org/.
DATA: To see data on the hard-to-count populations in cities, counties, congressional and legislative districts in California, please visit: https://census.ca.gov/htcfactsheets/