The California Census 2020 campaign has expanded its outreach to Black Californians through a multimedia effort in partnership with Black-owned and operated media partners across California. Voice Media Ventures, a multimedia company and strategic communications firm, is working with these media partners, leveraging trusted messengers to motivate California’s hardest-to-count communities to participate in the 2020 Census. “We are attempting to move the needle to address the traditional issues of distrust and educational gaps around the Census that impact participation rates of the Black community in California,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020. “Through our trusted partners, we are creating a surround-sound strategy to help ensure the hardest-to-count Californians complete the Census form.” Voice Media Ventures has been leading community convenings and holding focus groups to assess Black Californians’ gaps in knowledge about the Census and what will motivate them to participate in the 2020 Census count. The information collected from these gatherings are being used to create culturally relevant messages for Black media partners to share with local communities. “While the overall strategy for the communications campaign is to ensure the state is reaching the hardest-to-count Californians through trusted messengers, for outreach to the Black community, it was especially important to also work with Black owned and operated partners,” said Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, founder of Voice Media Ventures. “This is not only a partnership that involves innovative tactics, but also a social justice issue to ensure trusted partners on the ground are involved with Census work in California.” Media partners involved in the campaign include: KDEE, Sacramento HUB, Sacramento Observer, East Palo Alto Today, Post News Group, Richmond Pulse, San Francisco Bay View, Sun Reporter Publishing Company, The Bay Area Review, 99One FM KJBU-LP, California Advocate, Central Valley Voice, Observer News Group, ONEMEDIA Central Valley, Inland Valley News, San Bernardino American News, The Precinct Reporter Group, Black Voice News, IE Voice, Westside Story News, Carib Press, Compton Herald, Inglewood Today, KJLH, LA Focus, LA Sentinel, LA Watts Times, LA Wave, Our Weekly, Pace News, Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal, San Diego Monitor, and San Diego Voice & Viewpoint. In addition, Voice Media Ventures is working with the newly created Mapping Black California Census Lab, a collaborative community mapping project, incorporating technology, data, geography, and place- based study to better understand the African American community in California. Research conducted on behalf of the Census campaign shows that African American communities may be more inclined to participate if the Census is framed as being done on behalf of their community.