A bizarre scene was witnessed at a press conference organized by the mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot. The issue being addressed by the mayor was the disappointing response to the census in the city. But she had a novel solution at hand and an innovative way to create greater interest among the general public.
Mayor Lightfoot introduced a 'Census Cowboy' who rode into the event riding his magnificent steed. This cowboy is supposed to galvanize the public and bring forward more people to participate in the population count.
"When I was a kid, I loved the Batman TV show. And, when the city of Gotham had a real difficult challenge, one of the things that the mayor there did is he called out and he sent out a distress signal to Batman. So, we are doing something similar for the census. And I'm happy to report I'm calling out the Census Cowboy," the mayor announced.
Beware the cowboy!
"It's time to giddy-up. Let's do this Chicago. Let's make the Census Cowboy proud," she added to make the people more enthusiastic about the exercise. The goal is to get at least 75 percent participation in the crucial demographic survey. 10 years ago, the city achieved just 66 percent.
But the cowboy will not just canter around the city randomly to encourage people. In fact, he is supposed to let residents know that their area has been lax in participating in the census.
"So, if you see the Census Cowboy come into your neighborhood, that's not a good thing. That means you got to step up and do your part and make sure that you fill out the census," Mayor Lightfoot told residents of her town.
Who is the cowboy?
The man who has taken on the responsibility to be the Census Cowboy is 33-year old Adam Hollingsworth and the horse he is riding is called Prince. This was not the first time Hollingsworth was in the spotlight. A former boxer, he participated with Prince in the protests following George Floyd's murder also and earned the moniker 'Dread Head Cowboy.'
This isn't the first out of the box trick used by the local authorities to get people participating in the census. They had also given another inducement by announcing that the ward which registers the highest increase in participation would be rewarded by having ice cream delivered to children residing there.
But this didn't prove attractive enough. In fact, the response has been so low that the ward which has done best has presented less than one percent of people for the exercise. Let's see if the Census Cowboy can make a difference.