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Bklyn Electeds Lead Bike Effort through Undercounted Neighborhoods for Census

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Bklyn Electeds Lead Bike Effort via Undercounted Neighborhoods for Census

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) and Borough President Eric Adams partnered with Brooklyn NAACP “Count My Block” initiative, New York Census 2020 teams, the Good Co. Bike Club and Mind Body Results (MBR) organizations, and other electeds to kick off a census taking mission on bikes throughout undercounted neighborhoods in Brooklyn this Sunday, September 13.

The large group of roughly 100 cyclists, many of whom were Black and Brown, met up in front of the Brooklyn Museum steps on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, before splitting into two smaller teams. 

One team tackled the Canarsie and Flatbush neighborhoods, while the other went to Brownsville, East New York, and Cypress Hills. They made stops at Allan’s Bakery on Nostrand Avenue and Maple Street, Canarsie L Train Station on Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road, Highland Park on Jamaica Avenue, and Betsy Head Park on Thomas S Boyland Street.

At each stop, cyclists fanned out either on bike or on foot to individually sign people for the census online via devices. 

While people did sign up, many cyclists said they were met with some distrust or the insistence that residents had already taken the census and therefore didn’t need to. In total, they reached 60 households over the course of a few hours of approaching people on the street, in public areas, and around shop fronts.

 U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke joined the tour through undercounted neighborhoods to fill the Census forms out. Photo by Ariama C. Long

“After the count, there’s no resources to get laptops and tablets to our students who have to work remotely. When we don’t say that we’re here by being counted in the census–when there’s new housing, there’s no indication that there’s working-class, immigrant folks that live in our Black and Brown communities that need affordable housing,” said Clarke about the different city programs affected by the census. 

Census data impacts hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding, said Clarke, that trickles down to community programs and services, which is why elected officials and organizations consider it so crucial for residents to take it seriously and complete. Clarke and others slammed the Trump administration for moving the census deadline to begin with and called it a “tremendous impediment” to getting everyone counted.

Community Advocate Joan Alexander-Bakiriddin, representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said the census effort was a part of the “self-response” to communities, especially communities of color, chronically undercounted. “First you count your home; then if you’re in a building, the building; then your block, your community,” said Bakiriddin about the program. “You at least get your friends and family.”

NYC Census 2020 Field Director Kathleen Daniel said, “We’re going to shed some pandemic pounds and cycle. And go to four different areas where the self-response has been very low for Brooklyn. Brooklyn being only at 56.2 percent self response rate for the census. And we solely have 17 extra days for the last decade to get the census carried out. After which it’s recreation over.”

Daniel mentioned the census deadline being abruptly shortened by a month is principally “census oppression” and that whatever the superb strides made in the course of the well being pandemic the nation continues to be reeling and vastly undercounted. 

Daniel mentioned the individuals who shall be hit hardest are immigrants and other people of colour in Brooklyn which can be hard-to-count. Hard-to-count (HTC) teams are outlined by totally different demographics, akin to renters, kids beneath 5, homeless people, decrease revenue households, individuals with much less entry to web and training, English language learners, undocumented immigrants, and racial and ethnic minorities.

 U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, heart, with volunteers to assist get Census varieties stuffed out. Photograph by Ariama C. Lengthy

Kings County ranks third within the state with 28 p.c HTC, and New York State ranks, at 22.9 p.c, among the many states with the very best HTC within the nation. A Census Bureau data map breaks down the components of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx; in addition to Nassau and Suffolk Counties in Lengthy Island; and Sullivan, Rockland, Erie, Monroe, and Jefferson areas upstate with HTC group census tracts, or neighborhoods, in New York state.  

Within the final decennial census, in line with CUNY Middle for City Analysis, “75.8 p.c of the state’s households mailed again their questionnaire, requiring extra pricey and troublesome in-person comply with up from the Census Bureau” to depend the remainder of the inhabitants. The standard emergency means to depend individuals door-to-door had been a lot tougher to perform this 12 months in the course of the COVID-19 disaster.

Daniel described the residents throughout quarantine who usually got here to their doorways with out masks or weren’t dressed. Her crew discovered that folks already in public carrying PPE’s are extra keen to enroll in the census and preserve social distance.

Founder and CEO Andrew Bennett of Good Co. Bike Membership supplied a piece of the cyclists that volunteered on Sunday. The group is a weekly biking membership began throughout June’s Black Lives Matter protests.The membership additionally does group and social justice outreach via driving. “The census is essential and lots of people don’t notice the importance of it, so we figured we a biker might cowl numerous floor and exit to lower-income communities and assist individuals fill out the census,” mentioned Bennett, who’s a Brownsville and Flatbush native. “That is like again in my group. That’s dwelling for me. It’s private.”

 Assemblyman Nick Perry takes to the bullhorn to get individuals to finish Census varieties. Photograph by Ariama C. Lengthy

At numerous stops Black Lives Matter (BLM) Brooklyn Department President Anthony Beckford, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush, Canarsie, Brownsville) confirmed as much as lend their assist and provide phrases of encouragement.  

Perry mentioned, shouting to individuals on the busy intersection in Canarsie, “Half of the individuals who reside in Canarsie haven’t been counted and won’t be counted. You’re going to lose some huge cash. You’re going to lose illustration.You’re not going to have the applications we now pay for. Your youngsters and faculties aren’t going to be as much as normal, and on this COVID time you want academic assist. Your sanitation shall be hit, so your rubbish received’t get picked up, and your streets shall be dirtier.” 

Census information can also be used to “decide the assigning of seats within the U.S. Home of Representatives, outline legislative districts and college districts, and inform redistricting,” mentioned the UC Berkeley Onerous-To-Rely crew.

“We need to encourage individuals to fill out the census as in case your life is dependent upon it as a result of your high quality of life completely is dependent upon it,” mentioned Jeffries, “We’ve to proceed with the fierce urgency of now. It takes 10 minutes however it would result in 10 years of legislative illustration.”


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