December 18, 2020 Draft Minutes

Illinois 2020 Census Advisory Panel
December 18, 2020


Phone Number: 312-535-8110 Access Code: 802-409-251#

WebEx Link:


Panel Members on WebEx: Deborah Bennett, former Representative Michael Fortner, State Representative Elizabeth (Lisa) Hernandez, State Representative Theresa Mah, Maria Pesqueira, State Representative Andre Thapedi.

Panel Members Absent: State Representative Carol Ammons, State Senator Kimberly Lightford, State Senator Andy Manar, State Senator Iris Martinez, State Senator Dan McConchie, State Representative Ryan Spain, State Senator Jil Tracy.

Staff on WebEx: IDHS Secretary Grace Hou; Oswaldo Alvarez, IDHS; Marishonta Wilkerson, IDHS; Emily Katlinich; IDHS General Counsel John Schomberg.

Welcome and Introductions

Marishonta Wilkerson welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 9:34 A.M.

Public Participation

IDHS General Counsel John Schomberg announced there were no submissions for public participation ahead of the meeting.

Mr. Schomberg offered an update on the current court cases related to the Census count. The Supreme Court decided not to act on whether the Trump Administration can exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census count for apportionment purposes.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

At 9:43 A.M. Mr. Schomberg called roll and a quorum was not reached. The approval of meeting minutes was tabled.

2020 Census Grant Program Update

Oswaldo Alvarez provided an overview of the self-response report. This report contained high-level breakdowns of the self-response rates in various areas in Illinois, including counties, townships, and neighborhoods. Along with this presentation, the IDHS Census team invited two Regional Intermediaries (RIs), the Illinois Public Health Association and the YWCA, to discuss their work on the Census.

Lynden Schuyler from the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) presented on their Census work with the southernmost counties in Illinois. Ms. Schuyler discussed the challenges faced with the Census count in the southern Illinois region, including limited internet access, a largely rural population (95% rural), and reaching special populations, such as immigrants, who reside in the area. Ms. Schuyler also provided multiple lessons learned in the presentation, including the importance of hiring "trusted messengers" from the community as Census ambassadors.

Regan Sonnabend from the YWCA presented on their Census work outreaching to people who are homeless and people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+). Ms. Sonnabend outlined some of the strategic partnerships her team created, specifically working with grassroots organizations who understand the challenges that specific communities face. Ms. Sonnabend also talked about facing the challenges COVID-19 presented, and how using creative methods and community partnerships helped overcome these challenges. She also highlighted the importance of hiring "trusted messengers" as Census ambassadors.

Mr. Alvarez then introduced Rob Paral from Rob Paral and Associates to provide a brief overview of projected demographic shifts and trends in Illinois. Mr. Paral started the presentation by talking about the national trend of people moving southwest and south. Using data from the 2010 Census and from the American Community Survey, Mr. Paral focused on Illinois and how the state is diversifying. Specifically, he outlined how although Illinois continues to diversify, the population growth is flat compared to other parts of the nation. Mr. Paral focused on specific counties that experienced population shifts.

Timeline Review

Ms. Wilkerson reviewed the Census FY21 expenses. This included a breakdown of where funds were allocated and what funds were unspent at the time of the meeting. Some invoices are still arriving and under review, so the final numbers are not yet confirmed. Ms. Wilkerson updated the Panel on the final report from UIC and it will be available in late January 2021.

Future Meetings

This was the final 2020 Census Advisory Panel meeting. The Panel sunsets on December 31, 2020.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:14 A.M.