As an arts and cultural institution CD Forum is very well versed at communicating not just information but at storytelling. The 2020 Census is, at its heart, a tool for telling our story as a country. Specifically, the census is about each person being seen and recognized.
Written by JANEILL COOPER
A broken system is one that asks the communities it continues to fail to pick up the slack and serve themselves. A broken system is one that is selective in who it sees, recognizes, hears, and values. A broken system is one that fails to earn the trust of its people because of the injustice and harm it has inflicted upon them for generations. We live in a broken system, and at this moment in history, we are seeing the cracks of this system shatter wide open.
Those who are underserved - Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, and disabled folks - continue to navigate around and within these cracks through unmatched innovation, creativity, solidarity, and presence. It is the impermeability of community and fellowship that has allowed people of marginalized identities to continue to lead the way to growth and change in this nation despite every effort by the system to erase them; and we only continue to see how this manifests in the middle of the current crisis. What remains true is that everyone is essential to the vitality and well-being of our community at this very moment, ten years from now and beyond.
The delivery person, the school teacher, the graffiti artist, the doctor, the barista, the dancer, the barber, the dog walker, the elder care provider. Our parents, our children, our coworkers, our families, our friends. The person you see on your walk every morning, or on your commute home every night whose name you might not know but whose presence you do. As we look beyond ourselves and expand what it means to be a part of a greater whole now more than ever and write our collective story, we think about all of these people who impact our lives and community in one way or another. Now is when we show up for them, despite the system that won’t.
This year, with the 2020 Census, we have a tool with which to force the system to see those whom it otherwise chooses not to. We give some time to take and spread awareness of the census with full knowledge of its flaws - not because the system works, not as a government mandated assignment, but purely as a way to support and reinforce the seams of the fabric of our community and to shine light upon every home and individual that make it up, just as we have always done for each other and will continue to do. We take the census for the simple fact that everyone is valuable. Everyone needs to be heard. Everyone counts.