The Second Black Census Is Over. What’s Next?

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What is the Black Census Project? According to the website, “The Black Census Project is the largest survey of Black people in America in 157 years.” This unique survey attempts to ensure that Black communities and our priorities are not “left out of the conversation.”

Alicia Garza, founder and Principal of Black Futures Lab, started “designing the Black Census Project after the 2016 election. It was officially launched two years later in 2018,” per the press release.

This year the survey boasted more than 200,000 respondents, with participation from all 50 states in the country. This is a marked increase from 2018, which had approximately 30,000 participants.

Garza is thrilled about the results, telling ESSENCE, “We did it. Together, we just made history. Last year, we set out to speak with and listen to as many Black people as possible about what matters to us, with the ultimate goal of using what we learned to fight for what we need and deserve.”

“We partnered with Black-led and Black-focused community and national organizations. We hit the ground and knocked on doors across communities, including in prisons and jails across the country,” Garza continued. “We ran radio, television, and digital ads across the nation, and we worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment, politics, and social media – all to get the word out about the Black census.”

“Black people everywhere answered the call and made our voices heard. Thanks for showing up, bringing yourselves, your families, and your communities, and making history with us. In 2024, we are coming for ours. Black people have always stood up for democracy. And now, we are going to make sure that democracy can stand up for us,” added Garza.

Michael Harriot, author of Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America was just as ecstatic, stating “This is the largest survey of Black people in American history—there is nothing else that comes close.”

“This is a way for people to actually know what Black voters want, and what Black voters are concerned about. It also has historical significance and gives us the ability to dispel myths about Black people with real data,” continued Harriot.

According to the results, the top three issues Black people are dealing with right now are:

  • Low wages that are not enough to sustain a family: 39%
  • Gun violence: 32%
  • Schools that fail to prepare children adequately: 32%.

The data collected will be used inform the Black Economic Agenda, which will be released in February of 2024. Legislators will be able to use this policy roadmap to help inform them of the issues facing Black Americans. In addition, the information will help Black people engage more effectively with the political process.  

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