Only1Me: Billy Porter, Misty Copeland want you to fill out the census

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new collective of black theater industry leaders is putting the spotlight on the 2020 census.

The Black Theatre United coalition has launched Only1Me, a public service campaign to inspire so-called "hard to count" populations to complete the census.

Among the often under-counted are immigrants, people of color, low income residents, renters and the undocumented.

Related: Fill out the census today

Schele Williams is one of the founding members of the coalition, BTU for short, focused on fighting systemic racism in the theater industry.

"This is the time for urban neighborhoods, black and brown neighborhoods, to be counted," she said. "Because that's how we get resources and representation."

BTU has teamed up with the non-profit Fair Count to launch this social media campaign featuring iconic artists Billy Porter and Misty Copeland with the goal of using their star power to amplify the message.

"Your voice is only heard if you make yourself known as a part of the census," Copeland tells viewers. "Be counted. There's only one of you."

The 2020 census will determine the allocation of more than $1.5 trillion annually to more than 300 federal programs.

Related: Voter registration and census deadlines and resources for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Many of the communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic are chronically under-counted and could lose out on billions of dollars that fund crucial services like hospitals, Medicaid, head start and more.

Adding to the urgency, the census count will now end September 30, a full month earlier than recommended.

"In the 10 minutes it takes to fill out this paper, you will see a difference in your neighborhood for the next 10 years," Williams said.

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