The San Benito County Arts Council, Youth Alliance, Community Foundation for San Benito and County of San Benito recently came together to brainstorm creative ways to encourage local residents, especially hard-to-count communities, to participate in the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census is so much more than just a head count; it’s an opportunity for San Benito County to be counted. It is a picture of America which defines how many congressional seats are apportioned, how state and federal dollars are dispersed, redistricting, and where businesses chose to open new stores.
After seeing different arts-based activities take place in other communities, local county and nonprofit leaders got together to brainstorm opportunities to bring awareness to the Census with the goal of encouraging residents to fill out the Census before it’s too late. Local artist, Bryan West, who is also a teaching artist with the Arts Council, was selected to design a vibrant, pop-culture inspired Census poster based on his existing graphic design work featuring pop icons from the 80s and 90s. West stated, “I drew inspiration from old Lucha Libre trading cards and colorful Luchador masks, blending those flavors with a pop art sensibility that I think will make them really stand out.”
The Census posters, which were created in English and Spanish and paid for with funding from the California Complete Count-Census 2020, have been installed in the County bus shelters, county buses and will be displayed in storefronts, local schools and businesses through the end of September. Reflecting on the process, West said, “This was a really exciting project to work on. Often when you are creating designs for a social cause or civic duty there is a desire to make everything look plain or ‘official’. I appreciate that San Benito County, The Arts Council, Youth Alliance and Community Foundation wanted something more dynamic and playful. The open-ended nature of this project freed me to create something that I really think will get people’s attention and hopefully motivate them to take action.”
Every Californian has the constitutional right to be counted. The count needs to be accurate to display who we are, what we look like, and what our needs are as these are a key factor in defining the distribution of resources to our country. An undercount of the population would have far-reaching consequences for San Benito County, as every individual not counted impacts of $2000 per year in lost resources, over a 10-year span than $20,000 for each individual not counted.
There are three easy ways to fill out the census:
- Online at my2020census.gov
- By phone at 844-330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here)
- By mail if you received a paper form
It’s easy. There are just nine simple questions including your name, address, sex, race, and age.
It’s confidential. By law, your responses to the census cannot be shared with any other government agencies. Your responses cannot be used for law enforcement purposes and they cannot be used to determine eligibility for government benefits. They cannot be shared with your landlord, credit agencies, etc.
There is no citizenship question. The census will not ask about your citizenship status and the information you give cannot be shared with immigration enforcement.
It’s essential for our community. Census data informs billions of dollars in funding for essential programs like Head Start, childcare and nutrition programs, mental health programs, education and healthcare, parks and roads, and much more
Let’s empower our community to be heard and counted, fill out the census today it’s not too late!
*See more of artist Bryan West’s work HERE.