The Simple Way Shirley Chisholm Engaged Her Community

Shirley Chisholm looking at list of numbers posted on a wall
Via Flickr
Abeni Jones
February 10, 2020

In the 1960s, even more than now, many Black people didn’t trust the government. What had the government ever really done for us?

One New Yorker knew she had to change things.

Shirley Chisholm’s story - a powerful force as the first Black congresswoman and an inspiring presidential candidate - is pretty well known.

But building the coalition that made that story possible wasn’t easy.

Chisholm was committed to fighting for more political power for low-income Black people as a congresswoman. But how, when so many of us were rightfully distrustful of a government that had only ever done us wrong?

Her simple method for doing so might surprise you!

Chisholm knew that then, as today, Black people are severely undercounted when it comes to the U.S. Census - despite the fact that the Census has a massive impact on our day-to-day lives. It determines funding priorities, representation in congress, and much more. 

So she became a Census taker, going door-to-door to sign folks up and converse with them!

We have to continue to fight until all of our people count. 

One way is responding to the Census and getting your folks to, as well. Maybe you can even take it to the next level - be like Shirley and become a Census taker!

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