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For Black Women Prioritizing Health, The Census Should Be Top Of The List

We must make sure that we are seen and counted.

Politics

Black women have good reason to pay close attention to their physical and mental health.

Writer and activist Audre Lorde is famous for the quote, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

Traditionally, Black women have found ways to use natural remedies, family healing methods, and other forms of prayer to treat medical issues. For many women, health is the number one issue we're faced with in the many phases of our lives. With today's heightened rates of stress in America, complications with reproductive health and higher rates of gun violence, Black women cannot ignore the new demands needed to sustain their health in America.

This year, my organization Black Women for Wellness, is partnering with the My Black Counts coalition to take on the mantle of making sure that we Black women and our families are counted in the 2020 Census. We know it's going to be a community effort to make sure that folks know that our representation matters.

From the district lines that impact our school boards to the amount of representatives in Congress that our state is granted, an accurate Census count can be a major catalyst for change in our community. If we don't make sure we are counted, we can literally lose part of our voice by losing an elected official seat. And given all the rollbacks in healthcare, women's rights, and education, we can't afford to lose anything.

The Census takes place every 10 years. Almost half of Census data collected is used to federally fund Medicare and Medicaid. In 2010, the Census guided spending for more than 300 programs nationally---55 in the state of California alone.

Every person living in your home on April 1st should be counted, including extended family, children, and family members returning to society from imprisonment. Remember, by law the information that is collected cannot be shared with the IRS, landlords, immigration, or police.

In 2010, Black children were one of the most undercounted populations, resulting in our communities losing millions, if not billions, of dollars. As a result, the health and economic inequities we see in our communities today have worsened.

The truth is, fighting for our health and our family's rights is essential. An accurate census could drive $2,000 per person every year, for a decade.

April 1st we have an opportunity to define our families for ourselves, to participate in our civic duty beyond the vote, and once again make sure that we are seen and that we are counted.

To find out more about how you and your family can be counted in the 2020 Census, visit MyBlackCounts.org.

Featured Image by Shutterstock

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