The Black Futures Lab recently launched the Black Census Project 2022. Anticipating 200,000 responses from across all 50 states by June, this effort will become the largest survey of Black people conducted in the United States in 157 years, six times the size of the 2018 Black Census. The Black Census will provide the Biden-Harris administration, elected officials, and midterm campaigns irrefutable insights to address the needs of Black communities.
“If you want to take a pulse on what is happening with the country at large, listen and be responsive to Black communities,” said Alicia Garza, principal and founder of the Black Futures Lab, who began designing the Black Census Project after the 2016 election. “Black voters are the backbone of the Democratic party; yet our needs are often neglected and deprioritized by our elected officials. Black people are dissatisfied with how elected officials have shown up for us after we changed the balance of power in Washington. If our communities are not experiencing concrete action and tangible change, we risk staying home and not participating at all. In an election season that will determine the direction of the country, we are reminding the entire political apparatus that engaging Black communities early and often is a winning strategy – the Black Census is key to that.”
More than a static survey, the Black Census can be completed online at blackcensus.org or in person at activations to be planned from March through June across the country. The in-person events will allow Black communities to come together, share their experiences, and discuss solutions to address the issues Black communities face. The confidential, self-reporting process takes about 10 minutes to complete. Personally identifiable information will not be collected, and all participants can opt into becoming a part of the Black Futures Lab supporter community.
In 2022, the Black Census Project is taking extra steps to engage communities who are typically under-represented in data and media reporting. Black Futures Lab will engage with more than 100 partners, organizations, and businesses to survey LGB+ communities, trans communities, incarcerated Black people, Black immigrant communities, and Black people in rural areas. This year, the Black Census Project will conduct focus groups and house meetings in five priority states where it conducts civic engagement work – Georgia, Louisiana, California, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Black Futures Lab will use the findings to shape a robust public policy agenda focused on the lives of Black people, with an anticipated release of an updated Black Agenda by August 2022.
Data from the Black Census will encourage Black communities to stay engaged and wield political power to inform, influence, and impact all institutions and decision-makers who are or should be engaging Black people. In particular, Black Census Project 2022 data will inform the priority issues highlighted by candidates and their campaigns in the 2022 midterm elections.
“We are our best messengers on what we want, experience, and need,” said Garza “The Black Census is historic and important—join us and participate so that your voice can be heard, your experience seen, and your needs counted.”
Over 30,000 Black people from across the country participated in the first Black Census Project in 2018. Black Futures Lab used the results to identify pressing legislative and policy priorities, turning the survey into a national, state, and municipal policy platform to guide 2020 Presidential candidates as they devised strategies to earn the support of Black voters.