On Friday, November 8, Connecticut held its first-ever Census Create-A-Thon (#CreativesForTheCount). This event brought together Census Complete Count Committee representatives, municipal leaders, grassroots organizers, designers, content strategists, and media experts to create materials to reach hard-to-count communities across the state. During the four-hour event, teams developed over 20 communications materials such as posters, billboards, and public service announcements about the importance of Census 2020. CTData Collaborative Director of Community Impact, Elizabeth Grim, and Old Saybrook Selectman, Carol Conklin, won second place and $250 for the best content for their design: “I’m Learning to Count: Count Me in 2020.” Thank you, Expressiones Cultural Center in New London, for graciously donating the award.
Having a complete and accurate count of Connecticut communities during the 2020 Census is critical since the information collected will determine how federal funding is allocated to Connecticut and will also inform federal and state-level redistricting. As one team wrote, “Right Counts = Right Services.” Billions of dollars in services for the state are on the line. In fact, the 2010 Census resulted in nearly $11 billion flowing into Connecticut for essential programs and services.
Connecticut is already well underway with planning for Census 2020. As Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz noted at the event, Connecticut has established 107 Complete Count Committees across the state, including committees for both tribal nations. These committees are charged with raising awareness about Census 2020 and ensuring that everyone living in the state is counted. This year alone, over 1500 events have been held across the state talking about the importance of a complete count.
CT Secretary of State Denise Merrill echoed Bysiewicz, saying that we must be concerned about reaching under-served communities around the state, which are often hard to reach due to limited home internet access and relying primarily on trusted community leaders for information. Merrill encouraged communities to develop creative ways to engage residents such as through cell phones, which are more accessible in under-served than computers.