The changing demographics and political attitudes of the Central Valley - a traditionally conservative region of California - demand new strategies for community and civic engagement. To understand the shift in the region and how it is becoming more purple, look no further than the recent mid-term elections. In the race for the 10th congressional district, covering Stanislaus and portions of San Joaquin County, the election was undecided for a week and, at its closest margin, only 1,300 votes separated incumbent Republican Jeff Denham and eventual winner Democrat Josh Harder.
A huge opportunity for civic engagement lies in the 2020 Census. As a guide to many important government functions, such as redistricting and funding for programs, it is crucial for as many households as possible to complete the Census in order to provide an accurate picture of the region and build political power.
However, there is widespread alarm surrounding the Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question, creating an additional barrier for historically hard-to-reach communities. To help funders and community organizations understand the challenges presented by the citizenship question, a Central Valley community-based research project is examining the impact of the question on census accuracy and immigrant civic engagement.
During this webinar, we spoke with researchers, community leaders, and funders to understand how philanthropy can support census investments and broader civic engagement strategies in this rural, ethnic and politically diverse region.