2020 Census Update: Say Her Name and Response Rates
Breonna Taylor died on March 13, 2020. While sleeping, the 26 old unarmed Black woman who wanted to be a nurse, was shot and killed in her home by police officers.
On September 23, 2020, Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s Attorney General, announced that the three Louisville Metro Police officers involved with the shooting would not be charged with killing Miss Taylor. Even though one of the three officers was charged with three counts of a felony for wanton endangerment, the counts were not related to Breonna’s death. They were for the bullets that went through her apartment, into a neighboring apartment, where three people were inside, including a pregnant woman and a child.
For Breonna Taylor’s family, attorneys, and social justice advocates, the failure to return at least one indictment, directly related to her death, was a painful disappointment. The FBI announced it would open its own investigation. However, a timetable for completing the investigation into Breonna’s death has not been produced.
On September 15, 2020, the City of Louisville announced it reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family. The wrongful-death settlement also included a police reform package designed to prevent a tragic death like Breonna’s from happening in the future. Lonita Baker, an attorney for the Taylor family, said a settlement was “non-negotiable without significant police reform.”
Louisville’s police reforms are designed to dismantle systemic injustice and build community trust. Some of the changes mirror recommendations contained in the 2015 report issued by President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (see: https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf).
Due to COVID-19, many municipalities no longer have the financial nor human resources needed to implement community focused police reforms. Federal funding could be used as a supplement. Census Bureau information is used to distribute more than $800 billion in federal funds to states and local communities for health, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety programs.
Each person not counted in Census 2020 equals a loss of approximately $2,500 per year to municipalities. Westchester County’s participation in Census 2020 (68.3%), remains ahead of the U.S. (66.3%) and New York State (63.2%). There’s still time for residents in Westchester’s 43 municipalities to respond online (www.my2020census.gov), by phone (1-844-330-2020/English and (844) 468-2020/Spanish), or by returning their Census form by mail.
On September 24, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction that requires the Census Bureau to continue counting through October 31st, rather September 30th. Judge Koh sided with the National Urban League – as the lead plaintiff, civil rights advocates, and local governments. She determined that the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results and cause irreparable harm for the next decade.
Breonna Taylor’s family is suffering irreparable harm. Her life was shortened, wrongfully. Join the count. Say her name.