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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Mario H. Lopez
(301) 457-5080

Blackwell Promotes Census at Allen AME Church in Jamaica, NY

J. Kenneth Blackwell, Congressionally appointed Co-Chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, will travel to Jamaica, NY on Sunday, June 11th, to address the congregation of the Cathedral of the Allen AME Church on the importance of participation in the 2000 Census to the African American community.  Blackwell will speak to the 11:15 a.m. worship service at the church, located at 110-31 Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica.

Blackwell, who also serves as Secretary of State for Ohio where he was the first African American elected to statewide office, will be the guest of the Reverend Floyd Flake, pastor of Allen AME Church and a former U.S. Congressman from New York.  The Allen AME Church was founded in 1834 and maintains an active role in the Jamaica community.  It is one of the largest African American churches in the state with nearly 11,000 members.

“The success of the 2000 Census is the number one social justice issue facing the African American community across the nation,” observes Blackwell.  “A failure to count our community accurately this year will reduce our political representation at the local, state and national level for the next 10 years.  Furthermore, an accurate census count is vital in the distribution of more than $185 billion in federal funds for a variety of state and federal programs including health care, day care, education, transportation, economic and community development and many others than enrich our daily lives.”

The Census Monitoring Board Co-Chairman notes that nearly four million people were missed in the 1990 Census. A disproportionate number of those were African Americans as well as members of other minority communities.  More than half were children.  He has spent the past 18 months traveling the nation meeting with and listening to local officials, community leaders and residents representing hard-to-count neighborhoods and populations, urging them to work to ensure a more accurate count of their communities in the 2000 Census.

Blackwell brings a distinguished record of public service to his work on the Board.  He is a former City Council Member and Mayor of Cincinnati, past State Treasurer of Ohio, the former Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission.

The U.S. Census Monitoring Board is a bipartisan panel created by Congress to observe the preparation and implementation of the 2000 Census.  The Board’s findings and recommendations are reported to Congress.