Elected leaders, community groups and more than 200 Brooklyn residents marched through the boroughs streets for the Census March for Racial Justice on Sunday.

Organized by State Senator Zellnor Myrie, the march began in both Brownsville and Sunset Park, with the two groups meeting at Grand Army Plaza for a rally raising awareness about the census and what it means to the community.

Marchers, many of whom carried signs, were accompanied by a car caravan led by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. As the group gathered the attention of passersby, census staff went over and helped them complete the census.

Census March for Racial Justice. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez.
Census March for Racial Justice. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez.

Myrie said the stakes for the census were impossible to overstate, given its impact on funding for infrastructure, healthcare, school funding and political representation.

Our communities have historically been undercounted, underfunded and underserved, he said. Once every decade we have the chance to show up, get counted, and fight for the dollars we deserve.

Brooklyn currently has the lowest census response rate at just over 50%. New York City has a response rate of 54 percent as of July 27. The route intentionally went through neighborhoods lagging in the census response rates, often low-income communities of color that have high numbers of essential workers and immigrants. Immigrants and communities of color have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19 and are in need of the essential funding that comes from completing the census, but are often distrustful of the federal government.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said everyones responses, including undocumented residents, were protected by law. To help ensure Brooklyn gets its fair share, its essential everyone completes the 2020 Census and helps spread the word.

You can complete the census here.

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