Six Named Maryland Census Champions – Each Help Make a Difference in Our Complete Count
Our champions this week are:
- Delegate Heather Bagnall (D-District 33), Anne Arundel County
- Ana Dudamel, Montgomery County
- Barbara Bates-Hopkins, Baltimore City
- Lucia Islas, Baltimore City
- Yaretzi Islas, Baltimore City
- Laura Russell, Carroll County
A Maryland Census Champion is a person or group that has gone above and beyond in spreading the Census message in their community. Census Champions have devised innovative ways to get their community engaged in completing the 2020 Census. The individual or group being nominated could be a member of a local complete committee, a faith leader, a business leader/owner, or even someone in the community making a difference. Recipients of the Census Champion will be highlighted in this newsletter, on social media, and on the Maryland 2020 Census Champions web page.
Download the Census Champion Nomination form and nominate a champion in your community today.
Delegate Heather Bagnall has gone above and beyond the call of duty to educate, bring awareness to, and motivate her constituents to participate in the 2020 Census. She has utilized her platform to greater effect than any other member of the Maryland General Assembly by recording
multiple videos that included residents within her district, elected officials from every level of government, and notable Marylanders. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delegate Bagnall organized mailers, door knocking campaigns, and town hall events to promote, inspire, and motivate Anne Arundel County Residents to be counted. In addition to preparing her
residents with resources on how to deal with a once-in-a-century pandemic, the importance of Census 2020 never took a backseat. The actions that she has taken has yielded quantifiable results. Her district continues to show leading participation figures by census tracts, leading surrounding areas and other tracts around the county and state.
Ana Dudamel developed a thoughtful long-term plan to engage hard to count residents in several of the lowest response rate Census tracts in Montgomery County. As far back as April 2019, Ana has been raising awareness within the community and never let up this incredible pace through the COVID pandemic. She attended nearly every event in the county to promote Census and has maintained a presence throughout the pandemic. Ana developed a presentation to engage elected officials and participated in educational town hall meetings. Ana designed and executed a phone bank operation to engage community partners and she engaged local jurisdictions in order to amplify an outreach campaign for diverse audiences. She connected with the county’s Food Collaboration Council, advocating about the importance of the Census. Ana personally attends most of the food distributions – QR Code and giveaways in hand – answering questions and encouraging participation as people wait in line. “Ana has dedicated the last 18 months of her life to Census outreach in the community, and I guarantee our numbers would be much lower without her hard work,” said Lauren Sukal, Grants Administrator for the City of Gaithersburg.
Barbara A. Bates-Hopkins is Senior Community Engagement Coordinator and Manager of the Day at the Market Community Engagement Program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore City. Barbara has been a strong supporter of the 2020 Census outreach effort led by the Women’s Home Preservation Fund (WHPF) at Baltimore’s public markets, namely Lexington Market and Northeast Market. As the city slowly reopened, she made it possible for the WHPF’s in-person Census outreach to return to Northeast Market. The in-person outreach is an essential touch point for many folks in Baltimore who lack access to the internet or stable housing to register for the Census. Barbara’s advocacy has been and continues to be vital for increasing the Census count in Baltimore City.
Lucia Islas, President of Comité Latino de Baltimore, is a tireless advocate for the Latino community and has gone above and beyond in making sure Latinos in Baltimore know about and respond to the Census. She has created videos, social media posts, and virtual events that encourage residents to complete the Census and to make sure that all children are counted in their households. Lucia has done this all while managing Comité Latino’s outreach efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yaretzi Islas proves that it’s never too early to start advocating for your community! She has starred in several videos encouraging members of the Latino community in Baltimore City to complete their Census in both English and Spanish! She reminds us that all children matter and all children count.
Laura Russell is an enthusiastic individual with ties to various communities in Carroll County including faith-based organizations, volunteer groups, and the LGBTQ community, among others. Her connections have been an asset in getting the word out about Census 2020 in Carroll County. Laura was instrumental in shifting resources from the original Complete Count Committee game plan to virtual platforms, assisting all work groups in reworking their strategies. Laura also spearheaded virtual advertising with the Carroll County Times, ramping up the county’s billboard presence, and working on getting roadside banners in strategic locations throughout the county. Laura’s outside of the box thinking lead to Census messages at the farmers markets, the maternity ward at Carroll Hospital, and purchasing sunscreen-sanitizer for distribution at COVID appropriate events. Most recently she has been active in getting the count out in the county’s hard-to-count areas and has been working tirelessly on an ice-cream social Census event. Participants will receive a ticket for free ice-cream from an ice-cream truck if they take the Census on a county issued iPad and/or receive Census materials. The hope is that this event will drive numbers up in those areas and bring people out for a fun, socially distanced evening.