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YWCA leads Chalk-the-Walk to spread awareness on 2020 Census

Published: Jul. 25, 2020 at 7:23 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The YWCA met at Pier Park in Grand Island on Saturday to write messages about the importance of the 2020 Census. It was all part of the Chalk-the-Walk contest, an initiative hosted by the Civic Engagement Collaborative and led by the YWCA of Grand Island.

“What we’re asking people in Grand Island, in surrounding areas to do is to chalk up their driveways, chalk up their sidewalks in front of their businesses that would relate to the Census,” Danielle Helzer, Director of Mission Impact at YWCA of Grand Island, said.

The top three people with the best chalk art masterpieces will win prizes, but for some people, it’s not about the contest.

“I want people to be aware about the Census, especially minorities because sometimes we’re afraid or we don’t pay attention to the census,” Participant Lupita Ayala said.

Ayala brought her family to teach them about the Census.

“I also wanted to bring my little cousins, so they start learning that the census is important and talk with their parents about the Census,” Ayala said.

Every 10 years the Federal Government sends out the Census to the entire population to count how many people are living in the country. The constitution requires everyone to fill it out, no matter the race, age, or status. Some may be scared to complete it, but Helzer said don’t be.

“There’s no citizenship question on the Census,” Helzer said. “We understand the fear and the hesitation, but we want to assure people that it is a safe activity to participate in.”

If people don’t fill it out, it affects the entire community.

“For every person that goes uncounted, we lose about 2,000 for every person,” Helzer said.

The city loses out on federal funds which are normally allocated to schools, parks, roads, and other sectors of the community.

The group was drawing for nearly two hours before calling it quits. They ended up covering the entire perimeter of the lake with messages.

“We want to make sure people know that everyone counts,” Ayala said.

People have until October 31st to fill out the Census, but have until the end of July before the state starts knocking on doors.

The YWCA is pushing for everyone to fill it out now, because it’s a lot safer to self-serve during COVID-19 then to have people coming to folks’ house.

People have until July 29th to submit their chalk art photos, they can send them to the YWCA Facebook events page or email Danielle Helzer at dhelzer@ywca-gi.org.

YWCA suggests these phrases to use when drawing: Be Counted, Everyone Counts, Count Us In, iCount, We Count, Shape Your Future, and Come to your Census.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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