Benton Harbor Census Video Achieves Top Finalist in National Competition

Local Original Video Selected From 750 Entries 

A Census rap and video created by local Benton Harbor students is recognized as a Top Finalist in a national “Get Out the Count Video Prize Competition” sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The competition challenged its 750 submitters to explain why the census matters and to motivate people to respond.  The Benton Harbor team performed an original rap song written by Serenity Burton, a 2020 high school graduate. The rap highlights the importance of being counted for better schools, Medicare, Medicaid, school lunches, roads, and other programs funded based on Census data.     

"The Census is an opportunity as a community to get the resources we need for a better, sustainable future. We only get one chance every 10 years to make sure we are accurately counted. The actions we take today to ensure that everyone is counted, are choices that impact the generation coming behind us. They count. We need to make it count." said Traci Burton, Video Co-Producer and Community Engagement Specialist for the Benton Harbor Schools.

In addition to Ms. Burton, the video was created by a local team including M’shannon Rockette, Co-Producer and Project Manager, Terrance Sims, Videographer, Wavi Boi and Cornell Burton Jr., Sound Engineers, and Serenity Burton, Singer-Songwriter.

“We are proud of the creativity and talent of this Benton Harbor team and thrilled the Census Bureau recognized them as a Top Finalist,” said Lisa Cripps-Downey, President of the Berrien Community Foundation.

The video was funded by a grant from the Berrien Community Foundation.  The foundation is teaming with nonprofit organizations in Berrien County who will be hosting a variety of get-out-the-count events in July and August focused on the hard-to-count population.  To view the video, go to

There’s still time to complete your census form.  As the video says, “a minute of your time can do so much.” Each household can complete the Census at or call toll-free 844-330-2020 or by mail. Your household’s information is private and cannot be shared for 72 years, by law.

The Berrien County response rate as of June 28 is 63.4%. 

About the Berrien Community Foundation: The Berrien Community Foundation is a center of philanthropy in Berrien County holding endowment and other funds to support programs and projects throughout Berrien County.  For more than 65 years, BCF has helped concerned individuals establish their own charitable giving legacy and achieve their charitable goals. BCF works to connect the power of people who care with causes and organizations that strengthen our communities. Learn more at