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On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. States across the United States have used shelter-in-place orders to prevent further spread. Nonprofit organizations and governments are working quickly to address the crisis, while citizens across the world do their part to reduce the spread of the virus. Within this crisis response, the stark ways in which at-risk communities are disinvested, undervalued, and under resourced have become more apparent than ever.

In the same month the United States turned all of its attention to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting responses for their survey—one that occurs only once every decade. The census collects comprehensive data about the demographic makeup of this country. Collectively participating in the survey protects underserved communities, communities that lack adequate access to quality health care, and communities with limited social service resources. Unfortunately, decade after decade, these communities—Black, Indigenous, people or color, the elderly, and youth—are dramatically undercounted.

Like our collective efforts to stay home and help “flatten the curve” during this global pandemic, there needs to be a collective effort to show up for the most vulnerable by participating in the census. Completing the census is a quick and secure process, with questions that provide enough information to transform communities. Increased participation can lead to better representation in Congress and more health care services in our communities. Whether taking a break from working at home or taking a break between Netflix binges, we must exercise our collective power and fill out the census. It’s a simple way to combat chronic misrepresentation that blurs who makes up our society.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois urges you to stand with us and pledge to be counted. We can’t allow this opportunity to pass. Help us ensure communities will not be left without resources in a historic time of need.

Pledge to be counted TODAY. Click here to learn more.

Dannie Ransom is a grassroots activist at Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Tags: minority, WHO, census, pandemic, covid19, Health Equity, people of color, health, Health Care, healthcare