Gila County’s Census Effort: Getting Creative, Getting it Done

Dear Editor:

Regarding last week’s Page 1 article about Census 2020, from the moment I stepped into my first Gila County Complete Count Committee meeting two things were clear: Gila County was serious about getting its residents counted, and I had a LOT of catching up to do. While larger, better-funded counties waited months for the Census Bureau to provide promotional materials, Gila County got busy and made their own, then made sure they had enough to distribute to every single resident (I’ve still got the magnet on my fridge here in DC!). County staffers and San Carlos Apache leaders readily and regularly made time on weekends to attend events from the County Fair to Apache Jii to the Miami clean-up day. Miami public schools stepped up with one of only a handful of teacher-ambassadors in the state of Arizona. While other municipalities sometimes waited for Census staff to take the lead, I never had to guess what was happening next in Gila County or try and persuade local leaders to invest in the count. While it’s true that EVERYONE counts, when it came time to stepping up, getting creative, and getting it done, Gila County was the place on my list I could count on.

Havala Schumacher

(Editor’s Note: Ms. Schumacher served as the US Census Bureau’s Partnership Liaison during 2019-2020, before accepting a new job with the NRCS in Washington, DC)