Census Cowboy

Who Is Chicago's ‘Census Cowboy'?

You may have seen him at protests going by the name of "Dread Head Cowboy," but Chicagoan Adam Hollingsworth got a new name and mission this week.

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Before this week, 33-year-old Adam Hollingsworth was known as the "Dread Head Cowboy." As of Monday, Chicago’s mayor gave him a new title: "Census Cowboy."

“Everyone keeps complaining about funding for schools and all this brutality. If we want power, we need to stand up,” Hollingsworth told NBC 5.

As a way to encourage Chicago residents to fill out the 2020 Census, Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week recruited the Census Cowboy to ride to the 10 communities with the lowest census response rates. Lightfoot compared it to using the Bat-Signal to summon the superhero in the fictional city of Gotham.

"Let's make the Census Cowboy proud," she said.

“This is the perfect time to see what this horse really can do,” Hollingsworth agreed.

The father of four’s mission didn’t start with getting the word out about the census, but at protests where he said some misunderstood his message.  

He admitted to spreading rumors that he stole one his four horses after a now viral video showed him at a protest in downtown Chicago, but he never thought people would take him seriously.

“Everybody stopped, and the attention was on me. [I said] oh man, I think I need to say something,” Hollingsworth said. “All cops aren’t bad cops. All cops aren’t racist. A lot of them tell me they’re a big fan of mine. They love what I’m doing.”

Born and raised in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, the 33-year-old Hollingsworth said he considers himself a peacekeeper.

His love for horses started when his uncle sold him his first horse a few years ago.

He now owns four horses, but at one point he said he owned nine.

Hollingsworth said horses have changed his life and helped his mental health. His goal is to spread that passion to others. He rides to spread hope on horseback.

“We need to focus on unity,” Hollingsworth said. “If we don’t have unity, we don’t have nothing.”

The census is conducted every 10 years to help determine how many congressional seats each state gets and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending, including funding for libraries, schools, senior facilities and other government entities.

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