This month's census update is from our partners at the national collaborative. Note there are resources and information for your grantees and local CCC included below.

At the national level there are more than 17 organizations providing national hub functions – opinion research, multilingual materials, technical assistance, and more. The list of hubs that have been funded (although some of them not fully yet) is attached with contact information and a bit about what they are doing. The organizations are sharing information with each other; in fact, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, which is coordinating the national Census Counts Campaign, just hosted a retreat among the national organizations so that each group knows what materials (and in what languages) are being developed and when they will be released. Many of these organizations already have produced toolkits that are available on their websites which can be reached through the site along with recorded webinars, FAQs and other valuable information.

The Supreme Court should make a decision any day now on whether the citizenship question will be on the 2020 census. If the Court decides to leave the citizenship question on the census survey, it is expected that it will add to the challenges in getting an accurate census, particularly with immigrants, families with immigrants, and people of color.

Some of those who read the tea leaves on Supreme Court behavior are now predicting the opinion will be announced towards the end of the Court’s term, possibly June 27. But the key stakeholder groups aren’t waiting since it could happen any day. They have been meeting and planning for different Supreme Court outcomes; now they are sharing a toolkit that provides messaging for possible outcomes. Similarly, the Funders Census Initiative has developed a pre-decision toolkit for funders .

I was most taken by a joint statement from six immigrant rights groups – United We Dream, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Center for Popular Democracy, Fair Immigrant Reform Movement (FIRM), National Partnership for New Americans, and LA RED (a campaign of Faith in Action). These groups, representing people likely most affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, said, “Regardless of the outcome, our message is the same: we will be counted!”

By the way, the legal motions are continuing due to new evidence that has been uncovered since oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court. The new information is from hard drives owned by Dr. Thomas Hofeller, a Republican gerrymandering strategist who passed away last year. There were documents articulating a strategy to add a citizenship question, which, according to Dr. Hofeller, would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” Documents on the hard drive also suggest that Dr. Hofeller had a hand in the Justice Department’s explanation that the citizenship question was needed to strengthen enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. He also was in touch with a key Census Bureau staffer prior to the decision to add the question.

Yesterday, a federal district judge in Maryland issued an order that he will provide an opinion on whether this new evidence means that the administration was guilty of conspiracy and intent to discriminate. Judge Hazel had earlier ruled that adding the citizenship question violated administrative procedures and should be removed, but said there was not enough supporting evidence for claims on conspiracy and intent to discriminate. That case has been appealed to the 4 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Judge’s order yesterday said the new evidence “raises a substantial issue.” However, before Judge Hazel can issue a new opinion, the Appeals Court needs to send the case back to him.

The Supreme Court did not hear arguments about conspiracy and intent to discriminate. So, it is not clear what would happen if Hazel issues an opinion saying there is a constitutional violation. Moreover, the Census Bureau has noted that it needs a decision one way or the other so that it can print the census survey. Additional delays may complicate their ability to get things printed.

As the legal motions are considered, the House Oversight Committee has held Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt because they did not provide to the Committee documents requested under subpoena related to the administration’s decision to add the citizenship question to the census. One Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, voted for the contempt resolution. At the same time, President Trump invoked executive privilege to shield the documents from disclosure. This dispute also may end up in court.

Once the Supreme Court makes its decision, stakeholders and funders will have host three briefings to discuss what happened and what it means for the work going forward:

  • The Leadership Conference will host a briefing at 2 pm (eastern time) on the day of the decision. They will be joined by ACLU, Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Color of Change, NAELO Educational Fund, and MALDEF. RSVP here.

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC will be hosting a webinar at 3 pm (eastern time) on the day of the decision to discuss the impact.

  • The funders will also have a webinar on July 1 at 4 pm (eastern time) to discuss the implications of the decision. The speakers will include funders, philanthropy serving organizations, and some stakeholder groups. RSVP here.

Immigrant advocacy groups are also planning a series of rallies, one of which will be at the Supreme Court.

As part of a broader strategy to use digital tools and platforms for Get Out the Count efforts, the funder collaborative has supported 270 Strategies and Do Big Things to launch a Digital Academy.

The Digital Academy has two parts. The first is a set of six short videos on introductory digital organizing information such as use of email, text messaging, and digital ads. The second is a series of five 60-minute online trainings providing proven digital organizing techniques for census outreach.

Below are links to flyers (in orange) regarding the upcoming resources and trainings that we hope you will share with your grantees:

The videos are already available through the Census Counts website , which is the stakeholder groups’ website on census. The trainings require registration; the flyer provides links to register for each session.

Introduction (Length: 4:00)

Social Media 101 (Length: 13:00)
Learn about various social media platforms and how to build a message strategy and craft content for each one

Email 101 (Length: 8:20)
Learn about email engagement and how to develop an email messaging strategy that bolsters your organization’s public narrative on the census

SMS (text messaging) (Length: 11:00)
Learn about two main modes of texting – peer-to-peer and mass broadcasting – and details why texting campaigns can be utilized for census organizing

Digital Ads (Length: 17:52)
Learn how to optimize your census advocacy by using digital advertising to reach your target audience at scale

Search Engine Optimization (Length: 10:23)
Learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to ensure that your online content is actually viewed.

Registration is required to participate in the digital organizing trainings. Each session starts at 3 pm (EST), except the first one which is at 4 pm (EST. (Links to register for each session are below.) Each session will be recorded and available for later viewing if you cannot participate in the live training.


This email was generated by Engage New York in support of the NYS Census Equity Fund; a pooled fund focused on supporting and mobilizing get out the count efforts to ensure every New Yorker is counted in Census 2020.