Tennessee holds 2020 Census Outreach Summit

Summit attendee included: Dr. Chris Jackson, IMF; Pat Simmons; Mayor David Tomita, Johnson City; Sabina Mohyuddin, American Muslim Association; Wanda Smith, Clarksville, Tenn.; Lynn Whitlow, Census ‘partnership specialist’; and Jacob Brimm, partnership specialist.

The state of Tennessee recently held its 2020 Census Outreach Summit in the Williamson Country Public Center in Franklin, Tenn.

Approximately 50 employees from around the state attended.  There were several breakout sessions to discuss various issues that will impact the overall outcome of the 2020 census.

“We are trying to combat certain fears that many have about the census,” said June Iljana, media specialist for the 2020 Census.

The goal of the Census is to count every individual in the United States, including non-citizens. The total numbers of the census will impact funding provided by the government for states and communities.

“There are many fears and much misinformation relatively to the data gathered by the census, which causes individuals to not participate,” said Iljana.

“The data collected by the census is sealed for 72 years, and cannot be unsealed by the law, any legal agency, bill collector, federal agency or for any reason,” said Iljana.

The Summit had many breakout sessions to discuss ways to increase participation. Historically, 50% of the country does not provide information for the Census.

Individuals have already begun receiving census forms in the mail. The information can be filled out online or via a brief phone question. Answer will take approximately five to 10 minutes.

“If the information in not received via mail or phone, a Census representative will personally contact you at your home,” said Iljana.

There were also several representatives from the Hispanic community present at the meeting. Individual’s roles and goals are to make sure communities are engaged with the census.

The Census is also working with organizations and groups to help educate and target individuals in underserved area.

Dr. Chris Jackson, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship of Nashville was also present at the Summit.

“We are engaged with the Census Summit, to educate our community, and to make sure that our people are counted,” said Rev. Jackson. We need more funding on a federal level to help improved the conditions of our people.”

People who have been impacted by the tornado have concerns.

“If your home was not destroyed and you plan to return, use your old address,” said Lynn Whitlow, ‘partnership specialist’ with the Census. “If your home was destroyed and you cannot return, use the address where you will be residing as on April 1.”

The Census Bureau holds employee’s safety as the highest priority. Census takers will receive extensive training on personal safety.

The Census is currently monitoring the current issue with the coronavirus and will follow the direction of the president of the United States.


NAACP Tennessee State Conference assists tornado disaster victims

by Venita Lewis

Earlier this month, a truckload of supplies arrived in Nashville and was delivered to the Covenant Church. The supplies were donated by the NAACP Tennessee State Conference, Jackson, Tenn. The truck was filled with water, paper towels, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, books, canned goods and other items necessary in the tornado recovery efforts.

NAACP conference members deliver much needed supplies earlier this month after tornadoes hit Middle Tennessee.

Marilyn Brown, State Labor and Industry chairwoman for the Tennessee State Conference, assisted in the coordination of the donation delivery. Mr. Jimmie Garland, vice president of the Middle Tennessee State Conference, was also present to help with the delivery and unloading the truck.

“We are committed to help in a time of need and provide assistance during this devastation,” said Gloria Sweet-Love, president of the NAACP Tennessee State Conference.

“We have been providing assistance since day one at the Covenant Church, and we will be here to assist our people through this tragedy,” said Brown.

Also available to assist with the unloading of supplies were several members of Hands on Nashville. “I just called Hands on Nashville and showed up to volunteer,” said Ahnataye Brooke. “We have to work together to help the people who suffered loss from the tornado.”

The Covenant church is under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings. Dr. Cummings and her church are helping providing supplies for tornado victims in North Nashville.

Several churches, including: Lee Chapel AME, Jefferson Street Baptist Church, and Mount Carmel also have their doors open providing assistance for tornado victims.

“We will be providing supplies every day until we run out. When we run out, we will find more,” said Rev. Cummings. “We are committed to being a beacon of light in what appears to be a dark place. We will get through this together. Our church is a church of service, and we will continue to lead that charge during this time.”