Black Futures Lab Promotes Black Census Project Participation in Illinois

The largest survey of Black people in the U.S. in history aims to reach its goal of reaching 200k people.

The Black Futures Lab is actively involving Black communities in Illinois to take part in their Black Census Project. The goal of this project is to gather 200,000 responses from all 50 states. The project aims to identify crucial issues, needs and ideas that must be addressed for Black communities to thrive.

“If you want to take a pulse on what is happening with the country at large, listen and be responsive to Black communities,” said Alicia Garza, principal and founder of Black Futures Lab. “As we head into 2024, it is critical that we engage Black communities early and often. Every day, policy is being made about us, without us. This survey will help change that.”

The Black Census is a user-friendly survey-style questionnaire that can be conveniently completed online at Until October, the Black Futures Lab is conducting extensive outreach efforts, including phone calls, text messages, digital ads on social media and community door-knocking across the nation.

Insights from the Black Census will play a significant role in shaping the Black agenda for 2024, serving as a legislative roadmap to prioritize Black lives in public policy. The data collected will hold the power to influence and impact institutions and decision-makers who should be actively engaging with the Black community. Additionally, the information will inform the priority issues emphasized by candidates and their campaigns in the upcoming 2024 general elections.

“We are our best messengers on what we want, experience, and need,” said Garza. “The Black Census is historic and important—join us and participate so that your voice can be heard, your experience seen, and your needs counted.”

The Black Census Project, launched in 2018 and reintroduced in 2022, seeks to engage communities that are often underrepresented in conventional surveys and policy-making decisions. Throughout 2022 and 2023, the Black Futures Lab collaborated with over 40 Black-led grassroots organizations, more than a dozen national media partners and influential Black individuals to survey communities such as LGBTQ+ individuals, incarcerated Black individuals, Black immigrants, and Black individuals residing in rural areas.

In the first Black Census Project in 2018, over 30,000 Black individuals from across the country actively participated. The census outcomes enabled the Black Futures Lab to identify pressing legislative and policy priorities. They also helped to effectively transform the survey into a comprehensive platform that guided national, state and municipal policies for the 2020 Presidential candidates as they aimed to earn the support of Black voters.

As for the Black Census itself, personally identifiable information will not be collected. All participants will have the option to become part of the Black Futures Lab supporter community. Furthermore, eligible participants who complete the survey will have the opportunity to receive a $20 gift card as a token of appreciation for their input.

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