Friend — I became a civic engagement and environmental organizer because I know communities cannot recycle our way out of the climate crisis. To create the large-scale policy we need, we have to address the underlying problems in our democratic structure.
I believe we all deserve to live in a world where no one has to fight for their human rights, where Black women don’t experience medical malpractice, where children are not being torn out of their parents’ arms, where health crises are not exacerbated by polluted air and waterways. The overt and covert violences inflicted on Black communities and other communities of color that I’ve seen are based in imbalances of power, and this inspires me to work in the equity and justice movement to ensure that my community can build long-term power.
So, as an organizer born and raised in a state that has historically left out, disregarded, and disenfranchised the communities that I belong to, I know that one of the ways my community can build long-term power is to participate in the 2020 census.
The census matters because we need climate protections and solutions for all our communities. Black, Brown, and low-income communities disproportionately feel the effects of polluted air and water and utility burden. An inclusive census will not only tell decision makers but also climate advocates how to best serve communities that have been traditionally hard to count.
What’s more, as a descendant of people once lawfully considered property, I consider being counted in the census as personally and politically important to the fight for equity and justice. Following the Atlanta legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dorothy Bolden, I am committed to engaging working class people of color in the census. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the many ways that working class people and people of color are vulnerable to economic imbalance.
The root of what our communities need is investment.
That investment begins with knowing where and who people are — the census helps determine how resources are allocated in our country. So often communities of color are left out of decision making and the solutions that follow, which means we make do with what resources we have. However, when we all participate in the census, our communities can shift that power dynamic and have access to the resources we need to thrive.
Thanks for fighting alongside me to ensure a fair and accurate count in 2020.
Civic Engagement Coordinator
Georgia Conservation Voters