In 2020, congregations have two special opportunities to engage in civic activity; the 2020 Census and participating in elections and primaries.
The 2020 Census
Every 10 years, the nation conducts a census of every person residing in the country. This count is used to determine how many seats in the House of Representatives a state gets and the redistricting of state and congressional legislative districts. It also provides the basis for distribution of more than $675 billion used to fund education, health, housing, transportation, and employment.
This census is particularly important for Texas. According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), “Texas has experienced rapid growth since the last Census in 2010. If our communities are fully counted in the 2020 Census, experts believe that Texas could gain up to three additional seats in Congress. It would also bring in funding for population-based federal programs that our communities need.”
However, Texas communities have been historically undercounted. Approximately 25% of our state’s current population (over 6 million people) lives in “hard-to-count” areas. Those are places with low response rates in the previous Census.
A 1% undercount across the state would likely cost Texans about $280 million per year for HEALTH programs alone!
This is why The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas are urging all of our members to participate in the Census and make sure everyone knows how important this is to our cities and states.
“One of our goals in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas is to meet our neighbors and support our communities. Helping with the 2020 Census is one way we can do this. By assisting with the census, we are getting to know our neighborhoods so we can serve them better. We are serving our neighborhoods so they can better be served. Our neighbors count. I hope you will join us in the 2020 Census project.”
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
IX Bishop of Texas
Important Dates for the Census:
March 12-20 Households begin receiving the official Census Bureau mail with information on how to respond online, by phone, or mail!
March 39-April 1 – The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days.
April 1 – Census Day!
May – July – Census takers will begin visiting home that have not responded
“It is a Christian obligation to vote, and more than that, it is the church’s responsibility to help get souls to the polls.”
–Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
This Spring and Fall, we have the freedom and responsibility to elect our own leaders. This is fundamental to our democracy and a sacred trust we have inherited. The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and EHF is urging all voters to participate in the upcoming election cycles. However, voting is not the only way to participate in the process.
There are many other actions one can take to support our democracy including taking people to the polls, registering voters, encouraging people to vote, and educating people about the elections.
The Episcopal Office of Government relations has released a Vote Faithfully toolkit to assist congregation with voter engagement locally. Click on the Vote Faithfully link to access the toolkit and begin exercising your civic right and responsibility!
You can learn more about Faithful Citizenship and participating in the 2020 Census by attending EHF’s In Common in Austin February 27-28. You can find for more information and register on the In Common 2020 webpage.
Congregations and Communities in Action
- Raise Your Community’s Voice through Voter Registration and Engagement
- Congregation Spotlight: San Pedro, Pasadena Makes Connection to Address Concerns and Spark Change in It’s Community
- Operation Fearless: Developing Episcopal Youth Faithful Citizenship
- EHF Q&A Maria Bautista, Community Organizer working with Episcopal Churches