Special to the Bakersfield News Observer

Over the next few weeks leading up to the official Census Day April 1st we here at the Observer will look to showcase different organizations within our community who are doing great work to insure we are all accurately counted. This week we here at the Bakersfield News Observer (BNO) spoke to Alreana Frink-Waller, Founder and CEO of ShePower Leadership Academy.

BNO: What is your organizations role in helping to educate the public on the 2020 Census?

Answer: ShePower Leadership Academy role as a community organization in the 2020 Census is to become part of a powerful network of government, nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations to develop solutions to effectively reach everyone and encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census. Our specific target audience efforts are toward the African American community.

BNO: What key obstacles do you face in reaching Kern County’s African American Community?

Answer: The obstacles we face are, a lack of knowledge about the census, a lack of confidence that individuals have the ability to influence government, confidentiality and privacy concerns, fear of repercussions, and general distrust of government.

BNO: What unique strategies will your partners or your organization use to convince the African American community to self-respond to the Census?

Answer: Make sure we have trusted messengers on the ground who are a part of the community, care about the community and are not new in the community. We do this by partnering with established organization and do the work together.

BNO: Who are the key partners working to support African American efforts?

Answer: While there are a few organizations working to get the African American community counted. I can only speak for ShePower, we seek to collaborate with any and all organizations necessary to get the work done.

BNO: What events should people know about to get more information reaching African Americans in Kern County?

Answer: ShePower has reached out to many organizations to set up collaborative events, become a speaker at events, set up workshops and events. We’re reaching out to churches that are not already on the list, as well as work with organizations like Feed My Sheep and Brenda Jean sober living to find more volunteers to be able to reach a wider audience and get more African Americans counted.

For more information on information and events for the 2020 Census efforts in Kern County please visit kern counts.org