Why did the Tacoma Refugee Choir record a song about the Census?

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.

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