On Tuesday, May 8, officials from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce will testify before Congress and attempt to justify adding the question of citizenship back into the census for the first time since the 1950s. Lawmakers shouldn’t fall for it.
The census, which is conducted every ten years, helps determines everything from the number of Congressional districts to school funding to Medicaid budgets and more. Adding a citizenship question amidst a toxic political environment for immigrants all but ensures an undercount of some of our most vulnerable neighbors and their children.
Nearly three years ago, Lindsay Hill, a program officer here at the Raikes Foundation came to work and was despondent. The day before, a white supremacist massacred nine parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic African-American institution in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. No one in the office was talking about it. And Lindsay, the sole Black member of our staff, felt alone. But she saw it as an opportunity.
Today, we’re inspired by the young people who have gathered in our nation’s capitol and in communities across the country to say that enough is enough—gun violence stops with this generation.
The activism we’re seeing today is reminiscent of historic student-led movements that have changed our country for the better. From the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee of the 1960s to the Black Lives Matter movement of today, young people have the power to change our nation’s trajectory, and that’s never been more apparent.
The fight for gun safety is – and should be – an inclusive movement. The devastation caused by a gunshot does not discriminate along racial or socioeconomic lines. The tragedy of gun violence is one that collectively impacts us all. It is on us, as adults, to foster students’ ability to make change.