Count Us In: Showing Up For the Census Right Now

Count Us In: Showing Up For the Census Right Now was a virtual conversation about the importance of the Census for San Francisco and the Bay Area. Despite the contentious history of the Census, it remains a critical tool for local and national change. The conversation unpacked how Census participation connects to the urgent matters at hand: the senseless violence and oppression of the Black community and the necessary dismantling of a police force that perpetuates the inequities of our nation. The conversation centered on the power of the Census in supporting political representation, public resource allocation, identifying and counting communities, and how the Census addresses police brutality.

Panelists were community leader Del Seymour, founder of Code Tenderloin, a barrier removal and workforce development non-profit that aims to remove barriers for economic well-being obstructing underserved communities in San Francisco; Tyra Fennell, the former CEO of Imprint City, an organization activating underutilized areas within neighborhoods through arts projects that encourage increased foot traffic in support of local merchants; and Robert Clinton, city wide Census project manager for the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA). The panel was introduced by YBCA’s former CEO, Deborah Cullinan and moderated by Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco and SF Urban Film Fest Humanities Advisor, Ron Sundstrom.

A Visual Census

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the entire in-person art and the civic experience Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? was reimagined as a digital experience. To this end, the SFUFF reworked an in-person black box film loop into the multimedia essay A Visual Census. The essay weaves four seemingly disparate short films together to explore the role of stories, images, and emotions as they shape our perception of a population. We posit that a census reduces humanity to reasoned quantitative statistics, neglecting the emotion that underlays and is vital to healthy functioning communities. As you explore, we encourage you to think about how a census could be something more.

Curator: Omeed Manocheri 

Producer: Fay Darmawi