Philly Counts to Join Global Citizen at MLK Day of Service to celebrate community and take census action

On January 20, Philly Counts will participate in the MLK Day of Service by kicking off the 2020 Census Commit to Count pledge

PHILADELPHIA —  Philly Counts is joining Global Citizen at Girard College as a part of their 2020 Signature Project to highlight the role of civic action and community service as a catalyst for change. The 25th annual Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service is focusing on the history of voting rights, celebrating the role of Black women in the suffrage movement, and highlighting the importance of being counted in the 2020 Census. This MLK Day, Philly Counts is continuing to work toward social equity through grassroots efforts to empower the voices of our city’s historically underrepresented communities and ensure a complete and accurate census count in 2020.

“We are so excited to support this important day,” says Stephanie Reid, Executive Director of Philly Counts. “The work we are doing around engaging historically underrepresented communities in Philadelphia is consistent with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of social equity.  We honor Dr. King by creating systems that ensure equitable representation at the table where voices are heard and input leads to meaningful progress. During a day that emphasizes the community and service, it is essential to highlight that by taking civic action to complete the census, we can ensure a better future for all Philadelphians.”

Philly Counts acknowledges the prevalence of hard-to-count populations in Philadelphia: those who have been historically undercounted in the census, but the most likely to face the consequences of reduced funding and representation as a result of an incomplete census. Philly Counts staff are taking action during MLK Day of Service to reach out to areas of the city that have been historically underrepresented by distributing 2000 hand-written postcards in English and Spanish to census tracts that had the lowest participation rates in the 2010 census. The cards will highlight the specified region’s participation rate in 2010, the importance of the upcoming census, and information on how households can participate in 2020.

“We know that 57 percent of Philadelphians live in communities identified as hard-to-count by the US Census Bureau,” says Dan Warner, Data and GIS Manager at Philly Counts. “The anticipated response rate in these communities is under 75 percent, the national average. On Martin Luther King Day, we are making an extra push to engage the communities with the lowest response rates, to get them thinking about the census and how it will impact their community in 2020 and for the next ten years.”

On MLK Day, Philly Counts will remind Philadelphians of the critical role we all play in ensuring our city’s prosperity by kicking off the Commit to Count pledge: a commitment to participate in the 2020 Census. The pledge can be completed online or onsite at a host organization.

The Commit to Count pledge is one simple action that will have an impact on the community for the next ten years. Available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, the Commit to Count pledge cards highlight the impact of a complete and accurate census. Participants will complete the card which will be mailed to them in March. The handwritten postcard will serve as a personal reminder to complete the census in 2020.

“Dr. King advocated for all of us to take our civic responsibility seriously,” says Gaby Raczka, Engagement Manager of Philly Counts. “He knew democracy takes a united population. Completing the census is an action we can take to ensure we all have the opportunity to be represented and properly resourced, as envisioned by Martin Luther King Jr.”

The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, hosted by Global Citizen, will take place at Girard College on January 20, 2020, starting at 9 a.m. We invite members of the public to join Philly Counts at Girard College to participate in census action and help ensure a complete and accurate count in Philadelphia!

See the press release in Spanish


About Philly Counts

Philly Counts 2020 is the City’s effort to support the next United States census. By working closely with community members and partners, this program aims to: increase understanding about the importance of the census, educate the public on how to participate, ensure responses from the public for a fair and accurate count, and support filling census jobs. More information is available at