Make 618 Count

Effort underway to promote, increase area's participation in 2020 Census

The Carbondale Branch NAACP, in collaboration with the Alexander/Pulaski County Branch NAACP, has been awarded a supplemental grant from the Illinois Public Health Association, IPHA, to support the branches’ efforts to educate, inform and encourage hard to count, HTC, populations/communities to participate in the 2020 United States Census. 

Previously, the branch received funding from the office of the Illinois Secretary of State, SOS, for community outreach in Jackson, Perry, Williamson, Alexander, Saline and Pulaski counties.  

The additional funding will be used to expand efforts to reach HTC groups in Union and Massac counties, and to support “Census Sundays” in faith communities in all of the targeted communities. 

Faith partners include both First Missionary Baptist Churches in Cairo, and the St. John Praise and Worship Center in Pulaski.  

The project is also sponsoring a poster contest for young people who attend Century, Egyptian, Cairo, Meridian and Cobden schools.  

Winners will receive cash prizes for designing posters that promote answering the nine question surveys on or by April 1, 2020. 

Carl Flowers, SOS/IPHA project director, said in a news release that “Illinois was dramatically undercounted in the 2010 census, costing the state billions of lost dollars of federal funding. 

“By focusing on grass-roots in the communities, we hope to increase participation and make sure those dollars are not lost again.”  

Flowers indicated that research from the SOS suggests that Illinois also stands to lose two seats in Congress and possible federal funding that supports programs such as Head Start, public housing, veterans services, free and reduced lunch programs, police and fire services, as well as funds for hospitals, and road projects. 

Flowers said that the IPHA funding is part of a sub-recipient award to work with health departments in Southern Illinois with a focus on getting everyone in the community to become involved by distributing informational literature, talking to friends and family members about completing the 2020 census.  

Surveys, according to Flowers, may be completed online, by mail or by phone; and is required by law.  

Additionally, he said the project is working with Carbondale and other area communities in planning a major kickoff to get everyone “excited about the 2020 census, as the goal is to Make 618 Count.”

Project staff includes program coordinator Lynne Chambers and community outreach workers Christy Davis, Anne Terry, Ron Ferguson, Hope Logwood and Carmen Suarez.

For more information, visit and follow Count Me in 2020 Census on Facebook and Instagram. You may also subscribe to the YouTube channel Southern Illinois CENSUS.  

To schedule a presentation for church or civic group, and/or to host a Census Day event, call communications/technology coordinator Sheridan Johnson at 618-559-1458.  

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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