New York Counts 2020
New York Counts 2020

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Census Forum by CCCNY and New York Counts 2020

On February 6th, 2019, Citizens' Committee for Children of NY (a member organization of New York Counts 2020) hosted a half-day forum at FPWA focused on undercounted children attracting over 60 participants. Several teachers and service providers for children and the homeless attended.

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Learning about the census through interactive assignments was the theme throughout the forum. Demonstrating an under count, Amy Torres' (Chinatown Planning Council) used mixed color candies in a dixie cup, each color representing a different institution like a hospital, school, etc. Participants were asked to first guess the # of candies by eyeballing them, then actually counting them.

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The forum featured Steve Romalewski who presented maps of hard to count areas in New York City overlapped with where children 5 and under live. His visual presentation was followed by three breakout sessions: children 5 and under; teenagers; and adults wanting to ensure children were counted.

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Scholastic lessons included exercises for children included substituting playgrounds for hospitals, counting all the people in their home, and writing persuasive letters to their parent(s) on why they should be counted. For teenagers, creative ideas included incremental learning stages-learning the importance of the census, doing research to personalize its importance, and brainstorming activities to educate fellow classmates about the census.  Creative ideas included PSA-videos, writing an Op-Ed in the school newsletter, and planning an assembly. 

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For adults wanting to help children be counted, participants listed the various social and service networks they were a part of as a vehicle for disseminating information about the Census and identifying challenges faced by non-nuclear families and strategies to reach them to complete the census.

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During the forum, over 60 participants whipped out their cell phones and signed the online petition to New York State legislators to fund $40 million for community-based census outreach. 

This was a very successful conference and much thanks goes to Elysia Murphy, Sophia Halkitis, and Laura Jankstrom of Citizens' Committee for Children of New York for a well though out and executed forum! 

Elizabeth Plum