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NCC President, General Secretary Urge Full Census 2000 Participation
By Ambassador Andrew Young, President, National Council of Churches
And Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches

Inspirational Poem About The Census

Let’s work for a full and accurate Census 2000 count – and let’s do so especially for the sake of our children.  An accurate count is a vital step toward reducing social and economic injustices in our society through fair distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and state funds.  At stake are services ranging from hospitals and highways to senior citizens’ housing and school lunch programs.  But in 1990, children and people of color were disproportionately missed.  If undercounted again, they will not get the public education, health care, community facilities and other critical social benefits they need.  All these services are tied directly to the census.

What happened right in our nation’s capital 10 years ago is a case in point.  The late opening of public schools was a direct consequence of a 1990 census undercount.  Had there been an accurate enumeration a decade ago, funds would have been available to keep school buildings in good repair.  Had there been an accurate count in 1990, there would have been funds to open an additional six to eight schools, completely staffed.  And had there been an accurate count, funds would have been available for city-wide health programs, sufficient to provide care for those who are financially marginal and clinics for infant care, which could have led to a reduction in infant mortality rates.

Census numbers can help your community work out public improvement strategies, ensure the 911 emergency systems you need and inform evacuation and/or rescue efforts in the case of flood, storm or other disaster.  Census numbers also help businesses locate potential markets.  While individual records are kept confidential for 72 years, a person can request a certificate from past censuses that can be used as proof to establish age, residence or relationship.  Right now, your children may be using census information to do their homework.

That is why the National Council of Churches joins with a broad spectrum of religious and civil rights organizations urging full participation in Census 2000.  We urge our colleagues in faith across the nation to engage their own congregations and followers in census outreach activities during the month of March and beyond. 

Your local census office can help you explain the need for a good 2000 census.  Contact information for local and regional census offices along with a host of other helpful information is available at http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/2khome.htm on the U.S. Census 2000 Web site.  Look especially for the factsheet “Religious Leaders Lead the Way” (click on “Promotional Tools” and then on “Factsheets.”)

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