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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Census 2010:
Boyce Watkins Weighs In on Jackson & Sharpton's Push

Boyce Watkins joins the Census 2010 conversation.  He did a blog post for Black Voices BV Black Spin yesterday titled: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton Are Right About the Census. See what he had to say below:

It's kind of strange when the first person to call you on the morning of New Years Day is the Rev. Jesse Jackson. I don't care what anyone says, Rev. Jackson is a civil rights pioneer who always deserves our respect. He has seen the inside of jail cells and had his life threatened far more times than you can imagine. It is for that reason that I listen to Rev. Jackson's words in an attempt to understand how young African Americans might pursue the next generation of leadership. It doesn't mean that we emulate Rev. Jackson - but you should learn from the wisdom of your predecessors.

I say the same thing about Rev. Al Sharpton, who I spoke with the next day. For all of those who critique Sharpton and Jackson, you have to stop for a second and think about this carefully: How many progressive black leaders do you know about who have not been ridiculed by mainstream media? From Louis Farrakhan across the board, black leadership is typically humiliated, demonized and labeled in a negative way. It's time for us to see beyond the lies and respect men and women for what they've brought to the table.

With that said, Revs. Jackson and Sharpton are pushing hard on the census and making sure that people of color are counted appropriately. The census takes place every 10 years, with the next census being done this year.

Both pastors are arguing that the census is not devoting enough resources toward counting those who are hard-to-reach, including minorities and immigrants. Sharpton, Jackson and other leaders recently held meetings with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who is responsible for the census. (Read the full commentary here)

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