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"The National Coalition Partners Coalition Partners with African American Clergy Network for Census Campaign"
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God ordered Moses to "take a census" of the children of Israel to determine the strength of the people to address challenges they faced (Numbers 1:1, 2)
Washington, DC - Sunday, May 30, 2010 marks the first Sunday of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (The National Coalition) month-long push to encourage hard-to-reach residents in the black community to participate in the 2010 Census. The National Coalition's Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC) has partnered with the National African American Clergy Network for the "Count on Me - Count Me In Census Campaign," a national initiative to stress the importance of participating in the census and urge church congregants who have not filled out a Census form to cooperate with census takers or call in their census forms immediately.
Specially designed Census toolkits are being distributed to members of the faith community to prepare faith leaders to address questions related to the 2010 Census. "Census Sunday Toolkits" include a sample church bulletin, pulpit announcement, a "Prayer for a Fair 2010 African American Census Count," and an introductory letter signed by twenty prestigious clergy including Bishop Paul Morton, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., and Reverend Dr. Cheryl Sanders. The toolkits also provide information on how to identify legitimate census workers.
"The Bible teaches that God and government are not in conflict," said Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention and co-facilitator of the National African American Clergy Network. "We are promoting full participation in the 2010 census so that our communities receive critically needed resources and services that are based on the census."
"We are encouraging clergy to make announcements in church bulletins, on websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and other media available," adds Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, president of Skinner Leadership Institute and co-facilitator of the African American Clergy Network.
The coalition is telling pastors to urge congregants who have not returned their form to cooperate with door-to-door Census workers or call the Census telephone questionnaire line to give answers over the phone.
"People need to know that it's not too late to participate in the 2010 Census." The National Coalition's president and CEO, Melanie L. Campbell continues, "The Church has always played a defining role within the Black community, their overall reach is beyond measure. Our partnership with the National African American Clergy Networkis a crucial element toward continuing to impact our communities. We know we can count on our faith leaders to make sure our community gets counted so that we get our fair share of billions of dollars."
The UDC is an initiative of The National Coalition that brings together organizations representing the Black Diaspora. In addition to urging residents to mail in their completed Census forms, their goal is to demonstrate unity among Blacks, and to encourage the Black immigrant community to check the "Race" box on question nine of the Census form, then write in their country of origin.
The National Coalition's UDC has focused efforts on ten cities, which include Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Gary, IN; Houston, TX; Jackson, MS; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; St. Louis, MO; and New York, NY.
As part of the campaign, the UDC organized grassroots efforts that include the canvassing of neighborhoods in Jackson, MS; union volunteers gathering in Florida to visit members working at hospitals; and rallies and town hall meetings calling for the end of prison-based gerrymandering were held in New York. The UDC participated in the Census Bureau's March to the Mailbox which organized thousands of volunteers in 6,000 neighborhoods across America to promote mailing in Census questionnaires.
The UDC also launched the Poster & Social Media Competition targeting school-age children and young adults and challenging the youth to use their artistic talent to express why the Census is important to their community.
The National Coalition Unity Diaspora Coalition partners include: The National Council of Negro Women, The Praxis Project, APRI, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Urban League, NAACP LDF, African Federation, Institute of Caribbean Studies, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, NAACP, National Conference of Black Mayors, UniverSoul Circus, Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Black Youth Vote, Black Women's Roundtable, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Center for Law and Social Justice and others.
For more information on the UDC or to download a toolkit visit www.unitydiasporacoalition.net or www.ncbcp.org. To contact the Census Bureau's Telephone Questionnaire Assistance line call 1-866-872-6868.
Link to Faith Toolkit: