Community organizations help to encourage people to fill out census before Oct. 5 deadline

Community organizations encourage people to fill out the U.S. Census before Oct. 5

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The deadline to fill out the 2020 Census has been extended to Oct. 5, but Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is lagging behind in participation. Some Baton Rouge groups are taking the extra step to remind communities to fill out the census.

That’s why groups like the Gardere Initiative are teaming up with LSU mass communication students to get the word out to people who have not yet filled out the census, which only happens once every ten years.

In the Gardere community, Reggie Brown has been there for a while. He wants to see his community thrive, but unless people fill out the census there may not be improvements.

“Well it’s funding and as I told the gentleman on the corner here a couple of days ago because he wasn’t going to do it. ‘So, what is this thing, tell me about it?’ So, I explained to him a little bit that it is how we get funding, federal funding for hospitals, education, roads and community services,” says Brown.

The census is used to help determine funding for hospitals, schools, roads, and other community projects.

Brown is a part of the Gardere Initiative, a service organization that focuses on giving back to their community. They are partnering with LSU mass communication students to get the word out on how important filling out the census is, which only happens once every ten years. Back in the 90s', residents in the Gardere community requested a sidewalk along the highway.

Residents didn’t get that sidewalk until 2019. The more people that fill out the census, the more projects will be available for individual communities.

Community leaders, like Brown, want to make sure no one is left behind, but so far, the largest group that is not filling out the census is minorities. Brown adds, “They know we are here, and they provide funding for us. If they don’t know that we are here if they don’t know that this area has gone from predominantly African American to probably 50/50 African American and Latino and Hispanic…then we may not get those dollars set aside for improving the Hispanic way of life or the Latino way of life.”

LSU students and the Gardere Initiative are passing out flyers and putting up signs in different languages to break down the language barriers.

LSU student, Cassidy Kalisz says that this is an opportunity for everyone. “I think it’s really important for everyone to know that whether you are document/undocumented you can still take it and any of your answers that you put down on census won’t be held against you and they’ll be completely confidential,” says Kalisz.

People can take the census in different languages whether online, through the mail, or even over the phone. So, while, everyone still has the chance don’t forget to fill out the census and make sure everyone gets their fair share.

The census will never ask you for any personal identifying information, like your Social Security Number or banking information. If you want to fill out the census online, you can click on this link here.

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