Hundreds of students join Ivey in highlighting 2020 census importance at VOICES for Alabama’s Children rally
MONTGOMERY — Yet another group of important voices has spoken up to emphasize the critical nature of the 2020 census for the state of Alabama.
Hundreds of children, ranging in age from infants to high school seniors, rallied Tuesday on the South Lawn of the Alabama State Capitol to encourage state lawmakers to provide the funding and resources needed to guarantee an accurate and complete count in the upcoming census.
Led by the nonprofit group VOICES for Alabama Children and joined by state officials like Governor Kay Ivey, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), the rally highlighted that the prosperity and wellbeing of future generations of Alabamians are at stake when it comes to census participation. Parents, pediatricians and other advocates for children also participated.
Rallygoers warned, as experts have, that if the Yellowhammer State does not accurately record the number of individuals living in the state, Alabama could miss out on tens-of-millions of dollars in federal aid needed to adequately support programs for children and families.
A press release explained that in 2010, Alabama only accounted for 72 percent of its estimated population. As a result, advocates noted that the state received far less in federal assistance than it needed due to the low count. Marsh stressed the importance of the census and local community members working together to increase participation.
“I ask everybody to give a lot of concentration in these next several months to make sure we get good numbers,” he said. “It all comes back to being able to provide additional services to the children of our state.”
“Alabama is leaving federal aid on the table because of a low count in the 2010 census,” Stephen Woerner, the executive director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children, advised. “The failure to count all of our residents, including our children, makes paying for the services the state provides to address the health, safety, education, and overall quality of life for children very difficult. We owe it to our children to make sure all are counted.”
Addressing the kids present at the rally, Ivey said, “Boys and girls, I want you to know that you are the reason why I serve as your governor. Because not only are you the future of our state, you are the future of our nation and of the world.”
“The vision of Alabama’s youngest citizens is ultimately what will drive our state and nation forward. Whatever our students dream to do, we must provide them the tools to be successful,” Ivey explained, adding, “I was proud to remind citizens across the state that we have an opportunity to protect very important education dollars by participating in the 2020 Census. The kids must count today in order for Alabama to count tomorrow. To invest in our future, we must first invest in education.”
As part of #ChildAdvocacyDay, I’m proud to remind Alabamians that we have an opportunity to protect very important education 💵 by participating in the 2020 Census. The kids must count today in order for AL to count tomorrow. To invest in our future, we must first invest in edu. pic.twitter.com/nsyiEfmDin
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) April 2, 2019
Attorney General Steve Marshall and Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) are currently leading a legal battle to ensure that illegal aliens are not counted in the census data that affects congressional and electoral college apportionments.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn