When Santa Cruz County’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee embarked on its outdoor banners Census awareness project, all eyes were focused on April 1 (National Census Day) as the day we would focus our efforts and go all out on.
We would have drawings and educational events, distribute flyers and leaflets and posters, and staff Questionnaire Assistance Centers at local libraries complete with free drinks and snacks.
We worked with a local banner printing company and had beautiful full colored banners proudly displaying April 1, 2020 manufactured and installed throughout the County.
Then the pandemic hit, everything was canceled, and we all stayed home.
April 1 came and went and the County Committee worried that the banners were sending the wrong message to residents. Perhaps they thought it was too late to respond to the census, that they had missed their chance.
Then the idea was hatched to re-purpose the banners with new messages, and who better to paint those new messages than school kids, stuck at home and bursting with energy and creativity?
Working with local schools districts, including Nogales Unified School District, the banners were cleaned and the April 1 date painted over, leaving a fine large canvas for kids to show their artistic talents.
The Census Complete Count Committee provided ideas for messages, such as “funding for schools, roads, fire stations” etc. and encouraged the use of the census on-line response address.
So far five new banners are out in the community reminding residents that the 2020 Census is still on-going and their participation is needed.
Over the next couple of weeks, several more re-purposed banners will be ready for deployment and our local kids will be able to see their civic art projects working for the good of their community.