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Census crunch time: Activists say every Black Californian must be counted before September deadline

Angela Birdsong | California Black Media

African American stakeholders are ramping up their outreach to undercounted census tracts where Black Californians live after the U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that it will stop the national count at the end of September. The state too is intensifying its last-ditch initiatives to achieve an accurate count of all Californians as enumeration goes into its final stretches. Federal legislation that would have extended it through October has stalled in the U.S. Senate.  

Black Lives Matter is shouted, printed, painted and posted everywhere in today’s racial-and-social-justice-aware political climate, but those lives may be threatened by low participation in the U.S. 2020 Census. At risk for Black families in California, who live in the hardest-to-count census tracts of the state in disproportionate numbers, are federal resources for schools, housing, health care, employment, transportation and public policy initiatives that target them. 

The ability to maintain or lose political representation in Congress is also at stake. According to the consulting group Election Data Services (EDS), California could lose a congressional district representing 300,000 people for the first time in its 160-year history.  Part of the problem, according to the U.S.