It’s the one place where people are sure to gather willfully on a consistent basis – the church. History has proven time and time again that when God’s people are on one accord, change happens. With a pandemic in our midst coupled with civil unrest across the nation, now is not the best time to count the U.S. population, but what choice do we have? It’s 2020, and it’s time for the Census. Everyone in Chicago, particularly in under-served areas, must get counted, and the faith community plays a major role in helping get this done.
Even as you read this column, there is less than one month left for us to complete the Census. COVID-19 has drastically reduced our opportunities to gather in person to rally our congregants to participate. Fear and misinformation also fuel the hesitation of being counted. However, we cannot let a health crisis or untruths about what is being done with the data stop us from doing what is in the best interest of our people, and quite frankly, our lawful duty.
With the help of my ministerial colleagues, we have launched a massive “pulpit campaign” designed to reach thousands of worshippers. Armed with the theme taken from Joshua 24:15 “As For Me and My House…,” we will share a collective message to our memberships on Census Sunday, September 13th. We are calling on members and nonmembers to pack the church house whether in-person, drive-up or virtually to receive and act on the message that completing the 2020 Census is something that we ALL must do!
As a member of the Counting on Chicago Coalition, I take this duty very seriously as millions of dollars are at stake that will determine funding for everything from housing and education to Medicaid, transportation and student loans. Chicago’s West and South side faith leaders from the Baptist, C.O.G.I.C., A.M.E., C.M.E., Apostolic, Full Gospel, Catholic and Non-Denominational factions have aligned to deliver the united message that our voices will not be left out of the history that will be written over the next ten years.
It is time to the break cycle where communities of color are undercounted. The church is doing its civic duty to ensure that the people we were called to lead take 10 minutes to do something that will impact their lives for 10 years.
As for me and my house, WE WILL COMPLETE THE CENSUS!
Dr. Michael Eaddy is the Pastor of People’s Church of the Harvest Church of God in Christ in Chicago.
For more information about Census Sunday, contact Carol Washington at 773-426-1570 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.