Memphians work to get more census responses after deadline extension

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Community groups and lawmakers in Memphis are pushing ahead in the next month to make sure Memphians fill out the 2020 census.

A judge recently extended the deadline for the census to October 31. The Trump administration had initially set it for September 30. 

Memphis Urban League Young Professionals President Ashlee Hafford almost couldn’t believe it when she learned she had another month to encourage people to fill out the Census.

“My jaw dropped,” Hafford said.

Hafford and her team have spent the last few months immersed in everything census-related. 

“Literally going out in the community, knocking on doors, canvassing, doing more virtual events,” Hafford said.

She’s focused on making her city better. Her team provides information about resources to help ease any concerns. 

“The biggest thing is lack of education, don’t really understand what the census means for the community,” Hafford said. “We sit, and we see the areas in our community that needs improvement, and we don’t recognize that the census is one of those areas the census can improve your community. You can improve the roads, the schools, the healthcare.”

Tennessee State Sen. Raumesh Akbari says funding is one of the most important things the census can do for us.

“Especially when we’re talking about for our schools and school children. That’s pretty significant,” Akbari said. “Political representation is as well. It’s already projected that Memphis might lose an additional seat in the statehouse, and that’s pretty critical especially when you’re trying to push forward the policies for Memphis and Shelby County.”

When you don’t have the correct representation but still have the people here, it’s unbalanced.

“And just knowing and seeing firsthand we can make a real difference something as simple as completing the Census, people don’t realize it. It’s simple,” Hafford said.

The Memphis Urban League Young Professionals already has starting planning three more events over the next month. You can click visit their website for more information.

A virtual event on Facebook is scheduled for Saturday from 1 PM to 3 PM.

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