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Mayor raises Census awareness

City and state officials gathered at Songs of Selma Park on Saturday morning to encourage people to take part in the “March to the Mailbox”, a nationwide initiative to get people to turn in their Census forms.

City leaders and volunteers from around Selma came to the park to pass out shirts, hats and informational packets that urge people to fill out the 10-question sheet and turn it in.

“This event is one of the most important times as far as the Census,” said Mayor George Evans. “After this time there is 10 more years before we do another county.”

The “March to the Mailbox” took place in more than 6,000 cities and neighborhoods across the nation as a reminder that it is still not too late to turn their forms.

“We are better than some places,” said Kim Ballard. “But we are still a long ways from where we need to be.”

According to the U.S. Census web site 56 percent of the Selma residents have turned in their Census forms already. That number is 5 percent less than the numbers who have turned in their forms in Alabama and 8 percent less than the number of Selma citizens who turned in their forms in 2000.

“That’s a long ways from 98 percent or even 100 percent,” said Evans.

The census form is 10 questions about the home that recipients live in and the answers go to statistics that will affect things such as funding for schools, infrastructure and grants for the city.

“Governmental policies in the future are connected to these numbers,” said State Representative Yusef Salaam. “Economic resources, grants and fiscal consideration on every level of government are connected to these numbers.”

Frank Chestnut, the vice-president of the Selma School Board urged people to fill out their forms on behalf of the school system.

“This is a snapshot of where our community is headed,” said Chestnut. “If our community is expanded, government entities need to know. If it has contracted, government entities need to know. More than that, this is going to affect the quality of life for the next 10 years.”