Washington Communities of Color Applaud Supreme Court’s Decision to Block “Contrived” Citizenship Question


Olympia, WA – The Washington Census Alliance, made up of over 70 organizations led by people of color, applauded the Supreme Court for calling the Trump Administration’s reasons for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census “contrived”, and sending the matter back to the lower courts. This move effectively ends the chances that the question would be added to the 2020 census. Now, community-based organizations across Washington prepare to fight confusion and fear caused by the Administration to make sure everyone in Washington is counted.

“The citizenship question was a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to frighten communities of color away from census participation,” said Lin Crowley, Chair of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition. 

Last month, the controversy around the citizenship question grew even greater when proof that the question was designed to decrease political representation for people of color and immigrants was discovered on the hard drive of a deceased Republican redistricting strategist, Thomas Hofeller. These files revealed that the Trump Administration planned to use the fear stoked by the citizenship question to suppress census participation by people of color and give Republicans a political advantage during the creation of new voting districts after the 2020 census.

Now, advocates are gearing up to address fear, separate fact from fiction, and make sure their families and neighbors have all the information needed to participate in the census. The 2020 census could have huge repercussions for Washington State, as the once-a -decade count determines the state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives and billions of dollars per year of funding for schools, roads and hospitals. As one of the fastest growing states over the past decade, an accurate count in Washington would allow the rapidly growing state to receive a fair share of federal dollars and political representation.

“This is not the first time that communities have stood up to attempts to exclude people of color from democratic representation, from enforcing the voting rights act here in Central Washington, to the Census. We are determined to make sure the census lives up to its constitutional promise to count everyone who lives here—no exceptions,” said Caty Padilla, Executive Director of Nuestra Casa and member of the Yakama Yakima El Censo 2020 coalition.

Earlier this year, community organizations successfully stood up to the Trump administration’s attempts to sabotage the census by cutting census funding and staff. Community leaders from across the state to joined together and asked that Washington State government help fill the gap in census outreach. This advocacy was successful, with Washington State allocating $15 million for census outreach. The State will announce how census outreach funding will be distributed this fall.

“Our state looks very different than it did 10 years ago. Whether we’re brown, black or white, an accurate census will bring more money to support the changing needs of our growing state,” said Floribert Mubalama, Founder and Executive Director of the Congolese Integration Network, based out of Seatac, WA.

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The Washington State Census Alliance is a coalition of over 70 organizations led by people of color from across the state. Our mission is to support the safe and fully informed participation of historically undercounted communities on the Census for a fair and accurate count that ensures funding and fair representation for all in Washington State. 

Members of the Washington State Census Alliance include: 

African Community Housing and Development, APACEvotes, Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Seattle Chapter, Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) of Washington, Community to Community, Council on American-Islamic Relations – Washington , Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition, El Centro de la Raza, Entre Hermanos, India Association of Western Washington, Korean Community Service Center, Latino Community Fund, More Equitable Democracy, Northwest Kenyan Community Association, Para Los Niños, Raid Relief to Reunite Families, Sovereignty Hub, The Noble Foundation, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN), and more

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