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BWW TV: Billy Porter and Misty Copeland Spearhead BTU and Fair Count's 'only1ofme' Social Media Campaign

Black Theatre United and Fair Count have partnered to inspire 'Hard to Count' communities to complete the 2020 Census.

Black Theatre United (BTU), the recently formed coalition of Black theater artists, is partnering with Fair Count, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, to launch "only1ofme"; a new campaign featuring iconic artists of color, to inspire completion of the 2020 United States Census amongst "hard-to-count" (HTC) populations. The campaign was developed by creative company, Technology Humans And Taste (THAT).

Watch Billy Porter and Misty Copeland's 'only1ofme' videos below!

Each census, certain populations are "undercounted" because they may be hard to locate, hard to contact, hard to persuade or hard to interview. Often these populations are immigrants, people of color, small children, renters, low income people, undocumented persons or people who move around a lot. The Census Bureau calls populations that fit into this category "hard-to-count" populations.

The 2020 Census will direct the allocation of more than $1.5 trillion annually to more than 300 federal programs for healthcare, education, and more. However, as COVID-19 sweeps across the United States, it has made collection efforts amongst those hard to reach communities even harder. If these populations do not respond, many of whom have been the hardest hit by the pandemic due to systemic healthcare disparities and economic inequities, cities, counties, and states could lose out on billions of dollars that fund crucial services needed before, during and after the pandemic. These include hospitals, Medicaid, Head Start programs, school lunch programs, food stamps and more.

With the Census Bureau announcing it will be ending the census September 30, a month ahead of the October 31st recommendation, there is increased urgency for HTC populations to respond and avoid being cut out from those funds for the next decade.

"I founded Fair Count to fight for an accurate census that includes all of America. Together with our partners we're demanding an equitable, accurate and constitutional census that tells the true story of America. This campaign is designed to reach and inspire those HTC communities into action and lay claim to what is ours," said Fair Count founder Stacey Abrams.

"When Fair Count reached out about the census being shortened, I thought about something Sherrilyn Ifill said to us in our town hall. "We have to use the tools we have". We began by asking the question "How can we harness our power as artists to amplify the urgency of this message?". What we have come up with is a campaign that is about each and every one of us." Said, BTU Founding Member, Audra McDonald.

"only1ofme" is a social content series featuring iconic Black artists using demographic language from the census to describe themselves. This language is matched with their own chosen descriptors to express the power one has when they participate in the census. The campaign is spearheaded by BTU Founding Member, Billy Porter and ballet dancer, Misty Copeland who each feature in films shot in locations of personal importance. Billy Porter is seen at The Apollo in Harlem and Misty Copeland is filmed at Lincoln Center in NYC.

This series is programmed to be shareable on social media and designed to activate the audience to participate with their own stories and in turn spread the message to more HTC communities.

"There is #only1of you. The Census is a personal narrative about who you are and what matters. Your family deserves their fair share. BTU launched this campaign to show the unique gifts we all have and the importance of each and every one of us to be counted." Said, Schele Williams, BTU Founding Member.

"This campaign is a platform for personal expression." Said Nathan Phillips, Co-Founder of THAT. "we partnered with BTU to support Fair Count by reminding everyone that the impact of the census is immediate, long-lasting and highly personal. Billy and Misty are such iconic artists, so we use their gifts to showcase their power and empower others to express what makes them unique.

"only1ofme" will run across social media channels; Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter from Wednesday, August 19th. Those who have not yet responded to the 2020 census can do so online, by phone, or by mail. Find out more about how to make sure you're counted at https://2020census.gov/en.html




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