The 2020 Census Naperville Complete Count Committee conducted a Panel Discussion, on Zoom Webinar Platform, on July 23rd, 2020 with representatives from Local, County and State Governments, US Census Bureau, and Naperville Area Community Organizations to discuss the role that different stakeholder are required to play in ensuring that all residents are counted in the 2020 US Census. The event was hosted under the leadership of Mayor Steve Chirico, the City of Naperville, and Mark R. Rice Liaison, Complete Count Committee. A large number of people logged-in and viewed the informative proceedings of the Panel Discussion.
Mark R. Rice, who moderated the Panel Discussion, welcomed and introduced the evenings panelists. He said that the Committee, which comprises over 135 community organizations, from all segments of the Naperville community, promotes the US 2020 Census via webinars, websites, Face-book pages, twitter accounts, newsletters, etc. “As a result of their outstanding efforts, Naperville, as of today, ranks #1 across the US with a 80.4% US Census self-response rate for cities over 140,000 residents”, Rice stated, with a sense of pride shared by all on the panel. Rice ended his opening comments by thanking CCC member Ashfaq Syed saying “Ashfaq Syed has worked tirelessly on the Committee, developed the face-book page, and worked as behind the scenes engineer”!
Mayor Chirico, in his Opening Remarks, underlined the importance of counting of every person residing in the City considering the fact that a community gains $ 1,800 a year and $ 18,000 over the 10 years before the next census, for every person counted. He, therefore, called upon people to reach out to their friends and neighbors, especially those who have difficulties in accessing and completing the Census. “We have always been a step ahead of other cities and I congratulate the Complete Count Committee for its immense contribution in realizing this challenging goal”, he added.
Marilyn Sanders, Chicago Regional Director, US Census Bureau stated that an array of innovative initiatives will be used to establish contact with the persons who have not responded to the Census as yet. “While it will take only ten minutes to complete the Census, the data will bring in its wake multiple beneficial outcomes in the domains of education, health, economy, etc. during the coming 10 years. She said that his staff is fully prepared to achieve this cherished goal, despite the challenges thrown up by the surging tide of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Grant Wehrli, IL State Representative Representing the 41st District said that participation of people in the Census is a cine qua non for the allocation of budget for the federal programs and thereby for the multifaceted development of the Illinois State. “The Census data is used to determine your representation in Government. It will determine how many seats the State of Illinois gets in Congress”, he stated.
DuPage County Board Commissioner, District 5 and Chair, DuPage Complete Count Committee Sadia Covert said that DuPage County has been using a variety of techniques, including mailers, postcards, kiosks, advertisements, videos, community centers, and partnership with different organizations to maximum its outreach, especially among the hard-to-count persons like homeless, refugees, immigrants, children, students, non-English speaking residents, etc. “All these initiatives have resulted in DuPage County’s highest self-response rate in Illinois”, she noted.
Dr. Benny White, Naperville City Councilman said that Naperville, which comprises different races, religions, and cultures, places the highest value on diversity. “Widespread participation of people in the Census would enable us to understand the unique profile of each segment of the population in its true and total frame of reference”, he added.
Santosh Kumar, Founder, and Executive Director, Metropolitan Asian Family Services stated that their members establish live contact with different communities to educate and help them complete their census forms. “In addition, we have conducted multiple workshops and seminars and used social media extensively in this campaign”, he added.
Todd Schuneman, Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 Naperville said that their organization has approximately 700 members, with a majority of them being senior citizens. “We have been using newsletters, emails, social media, and face-to-face meetings to encourage them to fill out census forms,” he said and added that their IT team extends help to the senior citizens in filling the Census forms as many of them are not comfortable with computers.
LaTiyfa D. Fields, Community Development Fellow, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus said that their volunteers have been educating and inspiring the African-American, Mexican/Latinos to participate in the Census, in larger numbers.
The presentations were followed by a Q &A session. Mayor Chirico and Ms. Marilyn Sanders wrapped up the highlights of the Panel Discussion.
The next 2020 Census Naperville Panel Discussion will be held on Thursday, August 27 beginning at 6 pm will be streamed on https://www.facebook.com/2020CensusNaperville.
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