Brooklyn Complete Counts Committee Public Meeting
On February 27, 2019, Brooklyn Complete Counts Committee held a panel to inform the public on the status of city and state resources for community-based census outreach. City Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca and Carlina Rivera, co-chairs of the City's 2020 Census Task Force, began with a resounding affirmation of the need for funding to community based groups if New York City doesn't want to lose political power and billions of dollars of needed resources.
Moderated by Lurie Favors,Center for Law and Social Justice and New York Counts 2020 member, the panel featured Melva Miller, Census Coordinator, Association for Better New York (New York Counts 2020 member), Julie Menin, Census Director for City of New York, and Elizabeth Burakowski, Deputy Director of Upstate Revitalization in New York State. While the efforts of business and private foundations, particularly the leadership of Brooklyn Community Foundation were applauded, both Ms. Favors and the public underscored that major funding must come from the state and city. In-kind assistance from state and city agencies cannot substitute for funding to enable trusted community based groups to build their capacity -people power, messaging, and technology -to reach hard to count communities.
Unable to render a monetary prediction on the Governor's commitment, Ms. Burakowski voiced her regret that the New York State Complete Count Commission was slow in formation and encouraged community groups to use the political machinery to make their cause known. Visits to their elected officials and participation at the upcoming hearings being convened by the New York State Complete Count Commission are important. Julie Menin said the City will allocate resources for next year to community based groups for census outreach; the amount depends, in part, on what the city receives from the state.
Their panel was a good segue to Liz OuYang, Coordinator, New York Counts 2020 making an announcement on its campaign for state funding and March 5th Lobby Day in Albany. Several Brooklyn-based member groups, including Brooklyn Community Foundation are registered, along with more than 200 participants from other New York Counts 2020 orgs across the state to speak face to face with their elected officials on the importance of community based education, outreach, and organizing to get out the count.