Ethan Bachand ’22
On Thursday April 4, the City of Worcester held its 2020 Census Kickoff in the Hogan Ballroom. The public event included performances from local organizations in Worcester, a “Best of Worcester” exhibition, as well as appearances from multiple city and state officials.
Starting at 5:30, city and state officials, along with members of the community, filed into the ballroom for the extravaganza. After an introduction by a city official, Mayor of Worcester Joseph M. Petty gave a speech to welcome the audience.
The 2020 Census is a crucial process for Worcester, as the numbers gathered affect representation both at the state and national levels for the next decade and beyond. However, there are complications, as Worcester is home to large populations of non-English speaking and foreign-born individuals. If those residents are not properly counted, the city can be at risk for losing government seats and federal grants, which are crucial to providing Worcester every opportunity to advocate for itself and its residents.
There are other issues as well, as the internet will now become the primary method of responses, with information being stored in a “cloud.” All these concerns certainly need to be addressed, and city officials made it clear that they were preparing.
Before the event, Mayor Petty said that “This is an important issue. This is assigned to the Mayor’s office, and we have everyone from the city manager’s office, and we have Nico from the election commission, and we’re going to a head start on this. The 2020 census is released in April of next year … so we are going to be well organized and make sure that everyone is counted here in the city of Worcester.”
Other members in attendance were Director of Worcester Interfaith Isabel Gonzalez-Webster, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition Executive Director Eva A. Millona, Director of Census 2020 Regional Office Jeff Behler, and Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus.
One notable absence from the event was Congressman Jim P. McGovern, who represents Massachusetts’ second district. The Congressman had a conflict in Washington D.C. and could not make it back to Massachusetts in time for the kickoff.
Holy Cross Student Government Association Co-Presidents Adrian Cacho ‘19 and Meredith Coolidge ‘19 also made an appearance at the Kickoff. Prior to the event, Cacho talked about the importance of the event with The Spire, saying “I think that this is a good event. It allows folks to get a sense of where the city is at and where the city is moving towards in the future. It is a good networking event, meeting a lot of folks from across the city, getting to meet a lot of different organizations and restaurants, other parts of Worcester people aren’t really familiar with.” The groups that performed at the event include the Worcester Imperial Lion Dance Team, Burncoat High School Music Group, Ritmos Academy, and McInerney School of Irish Dance, amongst others.