EHF strongly supports the 2020 Census. Not only is it a critical health issue in Texas, it determines funding and political representation for every community in Texas.
That’s why EHF’s Congregational Engagement team has sponsored webinars, trainings, and a Facebook challenge to help congregations ‘get out the count’ during 2020.
The Union of Black Episcopalians/Myra McDaniel Chapter made the Census one of its priorities and took advantage of the webinars to enhance their efforts. Below is an excerpt of their work and an example of Episcopal involvement in Census efforts happening around the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
The Importance of the 2020 Census
By: Rhona Williams London, Myra McDaniel Chapter Union of Black Episcopalians
“To be a community of vigilance and action regarding matters of injustice, especially the effects of racism in the Church and society.”
National Union of Black Episcopalians
The Myra McDaniel Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians recognized the urgency of this call to action during a Presidential election year and 2020 Census emerged on the horizon. The impact of the Census on redistricting and funding for public services was a powerful motivator to launch an engagement initiative.
Our effort consisted of the distribution of flyers, email communications, postings on websites and in church bulletins/E-newsletter, and a sermon including appeals to respond to the Census. The rector of St. James’ Episcopal, Austin even participated in an online Facebook video census challenge with other Episcopal churches.
Outreach was conducted with our church community, the East Austin neighborhood (where St. James’ is located), parents of school age children, senior neighbors, and the immigrant and Latinx community. Our primary partners included the One Human Race initiative (which is a ministry of our UBE Chapter), St. James’ Episcopal Church, St. Matthews’ Episcopal Church-Austin, Freedom Schools and Neighbor 2 Neighbor (educational and service outreach under St. James’ affiliated Welcome Table) and members of St. James’ and the Myra McDaniel chapter of UBE.
Our Census outreach was undergirded by constant training through webinars and access to online resources through the Episcopal Health Foundation and Nonprofit VOTE. These efforts may have contributed to the improved census self-response rate. As of September 28, the self-response rate improved from 59% this summer to 62.1% (according to Texas Counts).