From the window illustrating the hacking of zoom technology, to the image of George Floyd which inspired protests, Our Weekly’s cover articles and their associated art pieces continue to provoke thought, reflection and sometimes laughter.

As this newspaper prepares to celebrate its 17th anniversary, we offer readers condensed versions of some of our best cover stories of the past year. In addition to covering the coronavirus pandemic; 2020 US Census; Black Lives Matter movement; and the election which made Kamala Harris the first Black woman voted in as US vice president, we have honored some of the precious lives lost this year, including Kobe Bryant and John Lewis.

It’s been an extraordinary 12 months and we look forward to bringing readers additional interesting cover articles and art as we forge into the future. The newspaper offices have closed for the holidays and will open on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. All of the Our Weekly staff members wish you and yours continued blessings and prosperity throughout the holidays and into the New Year!

California census chief: Don’t be invisible

Jan. 10, 2020

By Charlene Muhammad

OW Contributor

Even if you have people living with you who are not on your lease — or on your affordable housing application — you should still make sure they are counted during the 2020 Census, says Ditas Katague, director of the California Complete Count office.

“No enforcement agency, federal, local, or anything, can get that data,” she assures Californians. “It’s safe.”

Katague visited Los Angeles County, the hardest-to-count area in the United States and also a region in the state with census tracts where the most African-Americans live. She was on a stop in early 2020 that was part of a statewide push to encourage all Californians to respond to this year’s census forms.

She spoke about the state’s $187.3 million investment to get an accurate count of all Californians. Katague also shared details about what her office has been doing so far to achieve that, and she gave some insights on why it has been so hard for census workers to get the African-American count right in the past.

“As you know, statewide, the money and the investment that both the governor and the legislature have made across the state have been unprecedented. That’s because California is the hardest-to-count state in the country. In fact, the city of L.A. is the hardest-to-count city and Los Angeles County is the hardest-to-count county in the hardest-to-count state,” Katague says.

“So, even though our efforts are unprecedented, these are the reasons that we need to do that level of outreach. The U.S. Census is actually a federal operation, and so here at the state level, we don’t control any of the actual counting. We don’t design the form, but what we can control is reaching out, educating our Californians to make sure that they know how important it is to respond.”

Continued Katague: “And to that end, we’ve divided the state. We’ve used data to really inform our partners on the ground about where they should be reaching out and to whom. It’s really about getting the word out through trusted community partners on the ground, and really connecting with folks to say why it is so important and what an accurate count means for them on the ground.”