May 1, 2019 – The importance of racial equity in the 2020 census was the subject of an expert panel discussion yesterday, moderated by Georgetown Provost Robert Groves, former United States Census Bureau director.
The panel comprised Beth Lynk, Census Counts Campaign director for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change; and Gary Bass, executive director of the Bauman Foundation.
Groves, who oversaw the 2010 U.S. Census, noted that people of color and those residing in poorer urban areas or sparsely populated rural areas are typically undercounted, which the panelists found problematic.
“If communities of color miss out on representation and resources they deserve, that’s a civil rights issue and something we’ll be catching up with over the next 10 years,” Lynk said.
Robinson suggested that the best way to get people to participate in the census is to have their trusted neighbors approach them.
People need to see census advocates that come from within the community, he said.
“The people closest to the problem are closest to the solution,” Robinson explained.