The gathering Saturday at Capital City Alternative School aimed to inform people of all races and backgrounds why they should get counted in the Census.
The Mississippi Census Stakeholders’ Alliance says some demographic groups are hard for Census takers to reach, whether by their own choice, or by the fault of the Census taker.
“Young people, communities in poverty, communities of color, especially black men are hard to count,” says Leroy Johnson, Executive Director of Southern Echo, which co-sponsored the meeting.
Illegal immigrants may not answer their doors for fear of the government discovering them, says Alisha Johnson, Development Director for the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance (MIRA).
“When the forms get to the home, whether or not they’re understood, what is being required of me, what is gonna be done,” are some of the worries immigrants have, she says.
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker supports a bill that calls for a question on the Census: Are you or are you not a U.S. citizen?
“We ought to allocate our congressional seats, our electoral college based on the number of citizens that are there,” Senator Wicker says.
A flyer given to attendees of the meeting teaches this: African Americans are in the third stage of domination and control by the white community. The first stage was slavery, the second stage was racial segregation, and the final stage is colonialism.
We asked an organizer what that “colonialism” means in this context.
“The way you treat people in this country as colonies inside other countries,” Leroy Johnson says. “You deprive them of some of the things they need as part of their rights.”