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Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Community Leaders and Elected Officials Organizing Seattle’s Preparations for the 2020 Census as Members of the Seattle Census Task Force

Seattle (March 8, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the members of the Seattle Census Task Force, a coalition of elected officials and community leaders who are organizing Seattle’s preparations for the United States 2020 Census.

The Seattle Census Task Force is co-chaired by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) Executive Director Mahnaz Eshetu. The City of Seattle is working in collaboration with King County and the State of Washington to ensure there is a full, fair, and informed Census count. A full list of the Task Force’s members is below.

“Everyone counts, and everyone needs to be counted. There’s a lot at stake for Seattle in this next Census, and the Seattle Census Task Force is working to ensure our residents have the resources and information they deserve to participate in the 2020 Census. Contrary to what this president thinks, in Seattle we embrace and are better because of our diversity, and we welcome our new neighbors. I am grateful to the members of the Seattle Census Task Force who have stepped up to help us advance our shared goals of justice and equity,” said Mayor Durkan.

The Seattle Census Task Force advises Mayor Durkan on policy and outreach to historically undercounted communities, and will help implement 2020 Census preparations in four main focus areas: Training, Outreach and Marketing, Messaging, and Oversight. The Task Force focus areas were identified to best supplement the State and County’s efforts, and are informed by lessons learned from 2010 Census, in which 20 percent of Seattle residents did not fill out their Census form, leading to an in-person visit from the Census Bureau.

“I’m grateful to the community leaders who are dedicating their time, knowledge and thoughts to ensuring a full, fair, accurate and informed census count,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). “Our City relies on dollars allocated from the census count to fund countless investments – from schools to health programs to affordable housing. With racism and xenophobia rampant in federal policies, we need to center immigrant and undocumented families in our outreach and coalition building efforts to ensure that our City has the resources we need AND that our most vulnerable populations don’t continue to suffer. It’s through true partnership with community that we defeated the Citizenship Question and it’s through true partnership with community that we’ll build a path toward accurate representation and funding.”

“As Seattle’s immigrant and refugee population continues to grow, it’s important that we are prepared for a fair and accurate 2020 Census count. The federal funding we receive as a result of the Census is critical to supporting the success and wellbeing of the communities that make up the fabric of our great city. I’m proud to partner with Mayor Durkan, Councilmember Mosqueda, and our communities as part of the Seattle Census Task Force,” said Mahnaz Eshetu, Executive Director of ReWA.

A fair and complete Census count will help ensure Seattle receives its fair share of federal resources. Certain federal funds are dispersed by population. In 2017, the City of Seattle received more than $80 million in direct and indirect federal grant revenue. These critical federal investments have a direct impact on City of Seattle operations, and have helped fund important City initiatives, including Safe Routes to School projects, hazardous material release training for our Seattle Fire Department firefighters, and our rapid rehousing programs that help move families and children out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Additionally, federal funds are used to create affordable homes and provide housing stability for low-income households including through affordable housing development, energy improvements, critical home repair, and home buyer education. Significant funding is at stake for other federal programs that Seattle families and communities rely on, including Head Start, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicare and Medicaid.

Immigrants account for more than 18 percent of the City of Seattle’s population. Twenty-two percent of the Seattle population speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2014, Seattle’s immigrant population grew 20 percent, as compared to 14 percent for the total population.

The Census is supposed to count everyone in an area, regardless of status. The federal government is attempting to politicize the Census by adding a “citizenship question.” This question has not been included on the Census form for almost 70 years, and is designed to deter people from participating, which jeopardizes a complete 2020 Census count.

In April 2018, City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Durkan announced that the City of Seattle joined a coalition of Attorneys General, cities, and counties, and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors to sue the U.S. Department of Commerce for violating federal law. In January 2019, a federal judge in New York blocked the Trump administration from including a citizenship question as part of the 2020 Census. On February 15, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the citizenship question case.

The full membership of the Seattle Census Task Force includes:

  • Co-Chair Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda
  • Co-Chair Mahnaz Eshetu, ReWA
  • Allie Johnson, Seattle CityClub
  • Ashley Davies, Seattle Public Schools
  • Beto Yarce, Ventures
  • Cherry Cayabyab, Washington Census Alliance
  • Chris Lampkin, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
  • Debbie Carlsen, LGBTQ Allyship
  • Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza
  • Heather Villanueva, SEIU 775
  • Jorge Barón, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Pastor Lawrence Willis, UBCC/Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • Louise Chernin, Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Marcos Martinez, Casa Latina
  • Marlon Brown, Black Lives Matter – Seattle/King County Chapter
  • Masih Fouladi, Council on American-Islamic Relations – Washington
  • Melvin Givens, Gay City
  • Michael Byun, Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Monserrat Padilla, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
  • Nicky Smith, International Rescue Committee Seattle
  • Washington State Representative Nicole Macri
  • Nicole Grant, MLK Labor
  • Office of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
  • Washington State Senator Rebecca Saldaña
  • Rich Stolz, OneAmerica
  • Samantha Grad, UFCW 21
  • Sameth Mell, Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees, and Communities of Color (CIRCC)
  • Shouan Pan, Seattle Colleges
  • Solomon Bisrat, Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle
  • Treasure Mackley, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii
  • Velma Veloria, Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees, and Communities of Color (CIRCC)

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Contact: Kamaria Hightower, Kamaria.Hightower@Seattle.gov

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