Today, the Supreme Court took an important step in the right direction to protect our constitution and our democracy by affirming a lower court ruling that challenged the underlying motives for the proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census—a question that is unnecessary, untested, last-minute, and jeopardizes an accurate and full census count in 2020.
We commend the Robert’s Court for taking this important step, which will help to ensure that the census is not politicized. The census is more than a count; it is the vehicle by which all people living in the U.S. have access to their fair share of the political representation, funding, and resources they deserve and need in order to be safe and healthy. An accurate, inclusive census is vital to our democracy, and the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau should respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately proceed with preparations for a 2020 Census that does not include the citizenship question.
Even as we celebrate this initial victory for democracy, fairness, and inclusion, our work must not stop here. The ill-advised and ill-intentioned citizenship question instilled widespread confusion and fear about the upcoming 2020 Census. We must ensure that everyone is counted and that the 2020 Census delivers a full count among communities of color, children, homeless people, survivors of gender-based violence, and other vulnerable communities—many of whom are served by YWCAs across the country.
It is imperative that we all commit to raising awareness and reaching all members of our communities to reassure them that participation in the census is safe. It is up to all of us to help ensure that our communities are empowered, counted, and accurately represented.