Workers' Center Of CNY Supports 2020 Census

From the Mar/Apr #871

By Workers' Center of CNY Staff


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The United States Constitution mandates that every decade, a census will be taken to count all persons living in the country. Title 13 of the United States Code orders that the confidential information gathered is to be used for statistical purposes and that no individual person can be identified.

Historically, the US Census has been a nonpartisan issue.Soon after the election, the Trump administration introduced the idea of adding a citizenship question to the Census. This action further fueled anti-immigrant vitriol and was an attempt to silence the needs of our communities by deploying the census as weaponry to be feared and avoided. The citizenship question was ultimately argued before the US Supreme Court and in June 2019 the Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship question shall not be reintroduced to the census. 2020 Census will not ask any individual or household about their citizenship status.

An accurate census is critical for the fair allotment of congressional representatives.

Census aggregates help decide the proportion of financial allocations that individual State governments and local communities like Syracuse, NY will receive from the federal government for the upcoming decade. These funds are crucial to support infrastructure, schools, healthcare and economic opportunities. Additionally, New York State and local officials use decennial census results to help redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries to contain roughly equal numbers of people to ensure each person’s voting power is closely equivalent (meeting the one-person, one-vote rule).

The Worker’s Center of CNY (WCCNY), a member organization of the New York Immigration Coalition, has joined New York Counts 2020 (, a broadbased, statewide alliance of diverse interest groups in a campaign to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census in New York State, particularly to support marginalized communities in historically undercounted and at-risk districts to fully participate in the 2020 Census. We need the help of community members to support the Census endeavor and dispel inaccurate propaganda that it is anything except a way to ensure our community gets crucial representation and funding.

Over the past two years the WCCNY has been working to assure we have a fair and accurate census here in Central New York. The WCCNY and its members participated in the Local Update of Census Addresses known as LUCA. WCCNY members representing areas that have been undercounted in past decades went to the streets of their neighborhoods to identify new addresses, or remove locations that no longer existed. The project was an effort to help Onondaga County count people living in marginalized neighborhoods correctly and distinguish which areas might need more outreach. The members that took on this great responsibility came from different neighborhoods and represented many different cultures with five different native languages. Recruiting members from these neighborhoods is a victory for an equitable census and in reclaiming our count.

There are three chances and ways to participate in the 2020 Census (see 

1. Mid-March: Online portal opens. Letters sent.

 2. Mid-April: Paper questionnaires mailed.

 3. May: In-person visits (students: April)




After the LUCA project, the WCCNY participated in Lobby days advocating for 40 million dollars to be invested in Community-Based organizations (CBO’s). Community-based organizations, like the WCCNY, have been designated as centers of trust for many of the undercounted communities. This money would allow CBO's to have the capacity to promote that everyone should be counted, that the census is safe and confidential, and that being counted benefits all. On April 1st, 2019, marking the official countdown to the 2020 Census, the WCCNY held a rally in front of the Federal building in Syracuse demanding that CBOs in the area receive the money to “get out the count.” We were joined by the CNY Digital Inclusion Coalition, Interfaith Works Refugee Resettlement, and a few city officials.  

Since the official countdown the WCCNY has participated in activities for the Syracuse Complete Count Committee and we continue to advocate for a fair and accurate census. We ask that folks trust that the census is in their favor, and  we promote the benefits in being counted.





The Workers' Center of CNY is a grassroots organization focused on workplace and economic justice, through community organizing, popular education and policy advocacy, to empower marginalized, low-wage workers to combat workplace abuses and improve wages and working conditions. Online: and their Facebook page. Office: Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, 2013 E Genesee St, first floor. Phone: (315) 218-5708.