The Tacoma Refugee Choir sings a lot of songs about helping others and making a
difference. We believe that “simple things can change the narrative” so when we
heard about a grant opportunity to promote the Census and help our community
receive more resources that could help those in need, we jumped at the chance!
As we researched the Census, wrote the song, recorded it, and filmed this music
video, a number of really important conversations arose among our choir members.
Many of our choir members had never even heard of the Census and had no idea
how it could positively affect our community. They were excited to hear how
education, food resources, health care, and emergency response services (including
resources to handle the current COVID-19 crisis) are distributed based on Census
numbers and that each person counted in the Census brings approximately $28,000
in services to our community over the next decade. Concerns about completing the
Census were alleviated as we learned that law enforcement, courts, ICE and even the
President cannot access information from the Census Bureau. We talked about how
everyone counts, regardless of citizenship, age, or background, and that the Census
determines our representation in government and allows our needs to be
After the filming of the video, we had a discussion at choir practice and it was
touching to hear the response of choir members to being part of this project. One
choir member said, “I think this is the most important song we have sung. It helped
me feel that I can help my community be heard and that things can change.”
Another member said, “We have to be counted to be heard and helped.” One
member summed up these feelings with “This was so fun and I can’t wait to share
this video and help more people get excited about being counted.”
If nothing else, this project helped our choir and community partners better
recognize that simple steps can make a difference and has sparked new activists
that want to help others get involved in creating a better future for our community.
We are hopeful that this song and video will inspire many others to recognize that
things can change and we are not powerless when we work together. Being counted
is a great first step.