Black Like Me - We Count Oregon

Black Like Me

Oregon has a stereotype of being a state lacking in diversity, but the stories of Black Oregonians are just not being told. There are Black people in Oregon that are living, loving and thriving here. It’s time for our stories to be included in the Oregon narrative. 

Historically the census has undercounted Black Oregonians. Populations that are overcounted – generally white, wealthy, and homeowner populations have more political power and their interests are better represented. Black communities count. We must take a stand and take the 2020 Census.

For too long, our Black communities have been under-served by a white majority political machine.

There is distrust about American political institutions, especially with the current national dialogue and Oregon’s racist history. However, it is critical that Black folks push back against institutionalized and systemic racism and rise up and be heard in all ways. 

When Oregon legislators know our numbers, we are better positioned to advocate for the critical services we need and the role we play in this state as citizens, business owners, and contributors.

The 2020 Census could mean another seat in Congress for Oregon, another opportunity for our voices to be heard.

Is my census data safe?

How does the census affect representation?

In over 70% of Black people surveyed in the 2019 Black Census organized by the Black Futures Lab led by Alicia Garza, respondents said they felt politicians don’t care about them.

When we are counted it strengthens our voices and makes it more difficult for political representatives to ignore our issues and concerns.

Census data is used to distribute more than $675 billion dollars in programs. As a result of the 2020 Census data, Oregon will receive about $3,200 per year, per person counted, for the next ten years.

Our under-counted and unrepresented Black community must be counted to ensure we can advocate for our rights and needs. Being counted translates to dollars for our kids’ school district, representation of our issues at the local and state level, and critical public services like roads, hospitals, emergency services, community centers, diversity, equity and inclusion programming in our schools, businesses, and local government bodies and programs for children and families of color.

Many hard-to-count communities of color have in common concerns about data privacy and general distrust of the government. These fears can create doubt about completing Census forms. But not taking the census creates more harm than good for marginalized Oregonians.

It’s important to know that the Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing data identifying individuals from the Census surveys with anyone for 72 years.

The Census Bureau cannot share the answers it receives with anyone, including welfare agencies, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (formerly INS), the Internal Revenue Service, or the military. Census employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect all information that could identify individuals. Anyone who breaks this law can receive up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

For support filling out the census or for other questions contact: https://colorpac.org/; or https://www.paalf.org/

Download our toolkit!

Download our Black Like Me Toolkit for additional resources for talking about and sharing information about taking the Census.

Questions? Contact us.