Central Falls and the 2020 Census: Everybody Counts / Todos Cuentan

Background

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa speaks against including a citizenship question on the U.S. Census in 2020. Credit Ian Donnis

Central Falls is using all of the tools available to ensure that every Central Falls resident is counted in the 2020 Census: as the U.S. Constitution requires.  This is important because federal funding for Central Falls education, housing and health care is based on the number of people counted in the Census.

On April 2, 2018, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa convened a press conference to speak out against the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  At that event, he stated that, "this isn’t about immigration policy or partisan politics. We are here because the federal government has taken steps that make it harder for the upcoming Census to get an accurate count for all people in the United States.”

In addition, the City of Central Falls was a plaintiff that successfully sued the Census Bureau in a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York regarding the federal government's attempt to add the citizenship question. The lawsuit - famously won in a 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court - alleged that the Constitution requires the government to count every person -- not every citizen -- and that the question will drive down responses in immigrant communities, creating an undercount and depriving cities of political representation and money for education, health care and housing.

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With generous funding from the Rhode Island Foundation, the City of Central Falls also became the only city in Rhode Island to engage in LUCA canvassing: a grassroots update to the City's residential address records in partnership with a great California tech company that is on the cutting edge of developing tools for getting everyone counted: Community Connect Labs.

Because Providence County was the only “test run” of the 2020 Census, on June 2, 2018, the City of Central Falls partnered with Common Cause of RI on a one-mile "Test Run"  to raise awareness about the Census test run and the 2020 Census.

Also in 2018, Mayor Diossa agreed to join the efforts of the National Latino Elected Officials and the National League of Cities in building a network across the country to ensure Census success in 2020.  Here is the NALEO factsheet for RI.

Finally, Mayor Diossa was the co-chair of the RI Complete Count Committee.  This was a group of 60 statewide leaders assembled together by an Executive Order from Governor Gina Raimondo.  Here is the slide deck for the “Who is the RI Complete Count Committee.”  Within 6 months, the Committee organized, developed and wrote a plan to ensure that every Rhode Islander is counted in 2020.  Here is the 44 page plan.  In addition, Mayor Diossa worked with public and private sector partners to raise $1.2 Million to implement the plan.

For more information, contact City Solicitor Matt Jerzyk at 401-616-2435 or MJerzyk@CentralFallsRI.us

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