During the 2019 Festival On The Avenue’s kickoff event Thursday evening, the Rev. James Blassingame and Bonnie Disney spoke about the need to participate in the 2020 Census.
Blassingame and Disney serve as co-chairs of the Census 2020 Complete Count Committee and talked about how Sumter will benefit from having a thorough count when the Census takes place a year from now.
Speaking to a packed house at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church during the annual program known as ‘An Evening of Elegance – Remembering the Past,’ Blassingame said the committee on which he and Disney serve is reflective of our community.
“And that is exactly what the 2020 Census is going to do, reflect the community as best as we can,” he said. “As mandated by our nation’s Constitution, every 10 years our government performs a Census and this is why we want you to not only participate, but to help us get the word out about the 2020 Census.”
Disney said Census responses will begin next spring, and folks can respond either online, via mail or over the phone. There will also be several events throughout the county, she said, so residents can ask questions they may have.
She stressed how a thorough count means more federal assistance and how each person counted in South Carolina equals about $1,500 in federal funds each year. For each one percent of the population that is undercounted, that’s a loss of over $1.6 million each year, she said.
“The bottom line is quite simple,” she said, as we need to do our best to make sure every single Sumter County resident is counted.
It’s safe, confidential, and will directly affect how much money Sumter County gets from the federal government, she said. She asked that people join in and help educate their co-workers or neighbors or fellow parishioners at church about the 2020 Census as it will ensure we get fair representation over the next decade.
Blassingame thanked Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen and Sumter County Council Chairman Jim McCain, as both the city and county are fully supportive of the 2020 Census.
Information was available to hand out, he said, and noted that speakers are available to meet with organizations or church groups to help get the word out. Blassingame noted that all of this information is available on https://www.sumtercensus.com/
He also added that the Census is hiring. You can apply online for temporary seasonal jobs at 2020census.gov/job or call 1-855-JOB-2020.