Faith Leaders Kit

The 2020 U.S. Census Affects Funding in Your Community.

A complete count benefits all Arkansans. However, our state is at risk of being under-counted.

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every 10 years to provide data about our nation’s people, places, and economy. Census figures are used to make decisions at every level of government.

At every level, the census affects political representation; counts are used to determine the number of elected representatives and the shape of the districts they represent. At the community level, census figures help determine where new roads, schools, and public facilities are built. At the state level, the census affects policy decisions made by our legislature and funding for public services like education, healthcare, and economic development. At the national level, the census impacts Arkansas budgets for important programs like Medicaid, SNAP, highways and transportation, education and childcare programs, and affordable housing programs. A one percent undercount of Arkansas in 2020 may result in up to $750 million in lost funds over a 10-year period.

*This kit was developed based on Alabama the Beautiful: Faithful Census Toolkit. We are grateful for their thought leadership and creativity.

Materials to Share on Livestreams and in Worship Bulletins 

Email brad@bbbox.io if you have requested edits or questions about printed materials.

Livestream & Website Banner

Can be shared during religious service livestreams, on social media, on websites, and via email.

Service Messaging

This Wednesday is Census Day! Do your part to ensure Arkansas Counts. Complete the census today at My2020Census.Gov — then challenge 20 family members, friends, and fellow Arkansans to do the same! Let’s take a minute to text, email, and post that out on social media. It’s fast, easy, and ensures our fellow residents get the education, healthcare, and other community resources to thrive!

Census Day Wednesday Service Messaging

Today is Census Day! Head to My2020Census.Gov NOW to complete the census survey and challenge 20 family members, friends, and fellow Arkansans to do the same! Let’s take a minute to text, email, and post that out on social media. It’s fast, easy, and ensures our fellow residents get the education, healthcare, and other community resources to thrive!

Let's Make Sure Everyone Is Counted

Faith in Public Life provides this printout to be included in worship bulletins.

What Is the Census?

Available in English, Spanish, and Marshallese, this simple, easy-to-read one-pager is great to share with Arkansans of all ages and backgrounds.

What You Need to Know

Available in English, Spanish, and Marshallese, this document shares what Arkansas residents need to know about why the census matters and how to complete the survey.

Why Your Congregation Counts

“Census Day” April 1, 2020 is just around the corner. Every 10 years, the federal government is required to count every single person living in the U.S. through a census in order to determine how billions of dollars in federal funds, as well as political representation, will be distributed among states and local communities for the next decade. Though the census count has improved over time, certain populations continue to be “undercounted.”

As people of faith, we believe in the divinely given dignity of every person. When we complete the census survey and encourage our neighbors to do so as well, we declare that we are part of “we the people” and refuse to be excluded from the critical funding and political representation all people deserve.

The easiest way to begin educating and mobilizing your community is to
become a Faithful Census Leader. Leaders share information with their
congregations and help spread the message that the census is important and coming soon. When you raise to the challenge of being a leader, you’ll work directly with other faith leaders to ensure your community has the resources it needs to be counted.

We are looking forward to your partnership on the 2020 U.S. Census and hope you’ll join us as a Faithful Census Leader. Please be in touch with ideas, questions, and concerns at kara@arkansasimpact.org. We want to hear more about how we can help your community be counted.

How Your Congregation Can Be Counted

It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

 

1

Distribute flyers and bulletin inserts available at the top of this kit.

 

2

Host a Census Sabbath. Integrate the census into worship through preaching about the dignity of all people, the importance of being counted, and what’s at stake for your community.

3

Encourage people to respond to the 2020 Census. By April 1, 2020, everyone in the U.S. will have been sent an invitation to participate in the census. You can set up a Get Out the Count plan to help people access the internet to complete the census. Click here to learn how to set up a Census Support Site.

Organize volunteers to direct people to reliable sources of information, such as the Census Bureau’s and NALEO’s toll-free phone lines: Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Line: 1- 800-354-7271; Data Protection and Privacy Program: 1-800-923-8282; NALEO’s Bilingual Hotline: 877-352-3676

Who Is Hard to Count?

 

  • Children under five
  • People living in poverty and/or experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness
  • African Americans
  • Immigrant residents
  • Marshallese and other Asian American residents
  • Religious minorities

Sermon Guide

Dignity

  • We believe that all people, regardless of race, religion, or immigration status, are made in the divine image. Our existence and our divinely given dignity demand recognition by our government. That means we must all be counted in the census.
  • What we declare when we answer the census is that we are here, and we are part of “we the people,” and we refuse to be excluded.
  • “Fear not” is the most often-repeated phrase in Hebrew and Christian scripture — mentioned a combined 365 times. Do not be afraid to state your presence by answering the census.
  • Originally, the census counted every white man, woman, and child as a full person, counted enslaved people of African descent as 3/5 of a person, and didn’t count Native Americans at all. But now we have an opportunity to reclaim the census as a tool for dignity, justice, and equity.

Community

  • When you count yourself by completing the census, you are also making sure your neighbor’s child has a seat in their classroom and their mother has access to medical care. We must work together to make sure that everyone in our community is counted so we all get the resources we deserve.
  • The 2020 census’ impact on our communities is profound. It shapes everything from whether we have fair political representation in Congress to whether our roads, hospitals, schools, and fire departments have the funding they need to support our health and well-being.
  • You count in this country. Your work and your contribution to the common good moves beyond the walls of where we worship. Your voice matters. All people, regardless of your voting eligibility, can be counted in the census.

Democracy

  • If we are undercounted in the census, we are under-represented in Congress, diminishing our voices and depriving us of democracy and equality.
  • A full, accurate count lays the foundation for a healthy democracy and communities where families thrive and flourish. By completing the census and encouraging our communities do so, we claim our rightful representation and fulfill our responsibility to our neighbors and future generations.
  • It is important to be counted in the census because it provides economic empowerment and political empowerment. To participate in our democracy is to be counted.

Litany on Dignity and Justice

Reader: God, you tell us that we are made in your image. We believe that all people, regardless of race, religion, or immigration status have inherent dignity because you made us. Our God-given dignity demands recognition.

All: We will celebrate our dignity and we will count ourselves!

Reader: We know you long for the freedom of all people and for chains of oppression to break. For far too long, too many of your children have been excluded and counted as less than human, which has resulted in inequality and injustice. But we know you count each of us as equal in your eyes.

All: Just as you count us, we will count ourselves!

Reader: You’ve commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we count ourselves, we are helping make sure not only our needs are met, but also that our neighbors have good schools, hospitals, roads, critical resources, and fair political representation.

All: For our neighbors, we will count ourselves!

Reader: Lord, you assure us to ‘fear not.’ You walk with us in our lives and we trust in your spirit and guidance. We proclaim ourselves as your children and our dignified presence in this nation.

All: We declare our presence and we will count ourselves!

Sacred Texts

Hebrew Bible 

Numbers 1:1-2: The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai…. He said: “take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families….

Proverbs 22:2: Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

Proverbs 31:9: Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. 

Amos 5:23-24: But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream

New Testament Christian Scriptures 

Luke 2:1-5: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world….

Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”

1 Corinthians 12:24-26: But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body….

1 Timothy 5:3: Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.

Islamic Scriptures

Maryam 19:94: He knows each of them and has counted them a full counting.

Al-Qur’an 8:36: Surely those who deny the truth spend their wealth to hinder people from the way of Allah….

Al-Baqarah 2:42: Do not mix truth with falsehood or hide the truth knowingly.

Al-Baqarah 2:215: They ask thee what they should spend. Say, “Let whatever of your wealth you spend be for parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the indigent, and the traveler. Whatever good you do, truly God knows it.”

Ali ‘Imran 3:92: You will never attain piety till you spend from that which you love. And whatever you spend, truly God knows it.

Important Dates

Mid-March 

You will get a post card in the mail — DO NOT throw it away

April 1

Official “Census Day” — all of your responses on the census survey should be based on this date

April 8

You will receive a paper version of the census survey in the mail

May

If you have not completed the census, census workers will be out to knock on your door to help you with the survey

July 31

Latest suggested date for you to complete the census survey

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