LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The California Citizens Redistricting Commission released draft maps that could shape California’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization political boundaries for the next ten years. The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub coalition (The Black Hub) is committed to ensuring that the redistricting process prioritizes the voices of historically underrepresented Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). "The Black Hub" has a fundamental belief that redistricting does not have to be a zero-sum endeavor.
"Increasing Black political voice and power does not mean that one needs to decrease the voice and power of other underrepresented communities and vice versa," explains James Woodson, policy director of the California Black Census and Redistricting Hub. Woodson is also executive director of the newly formed California Black Power Network. "Rather than adhere to map priorities from BIPOC communities, we are concerned that, in an effort to prioritize all voices, some commissioners have mistakenly and unknowingly elevated voices from less diverse, affluent communities in the process, and at the expense of BIPOC communities. It has diluted our political voice."
The Black Hub’s draft maps are the result of a multi-year effort that included technical and research partners USC Equity Research Institute, UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center, UC-Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute, Advancement Project California, and Professor Tom Wong at UC-San Diego. The Black Hub has submitted and presented full statewide maps for Assembly, Senate, and Congressional districts that protect traditional and emerging Black communities of interest throughout California. The maps prioritize adherence to equal population, the Voting Rights Act legal requirements, and other BIPOC communities of interest. The Black Hub maps are informed by the input provided by over 400 Black residents throughout California. The Black Hub coalition collected Black communities of interest input during multiple sessions.
"The Black Hub appreciates the Commission’s hard work and its early release of the maps for public input. At the same time, the Black Hub is deeply concerned that the process for developing the maps has been rushed, inconsistent, and incomplete. It has resulted in maps that have ignored the interests of many Black communities and millions of residents in the state’s most populated areas. We ask that the commission take a step back and evaluate their mapping process. We strongly encourage the commission to ensure its process is designed so that it carefully weighs the COI testimony from BIPOC communities and respects how those communities have come together to map their communities," says Woodson.
Some top Black Hub concerns include:
- Los Angeles: The commission’s draft map has packed Black communities in South LA and the South Bay, leading to the elimination of at least one existing Black Assembly district and the dilution of Black political voice in Carson and North Long Beach on the congressional level.
- Central Valley: Black communities in Fresno County have continued to be split and paired with unfavorable cities like Clovis.
- San Diego: Emerging BIPOC communities in El Cajon are split and paired with Downtown, Santee, and other East San Diego County communities in the commission’s Assembly, Senate, and Congressional maps. Locally, Santee is referred to as "Klantee" and is not aligned with the Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities that make up Southeast San Diego and El Cajon.
- Bay Area: The commission has split emerging Black communities in Vallejo and East Contra Costa, including the split of Pittsburg and Antioch on the congressional level and the split of Vallejo from other Bay Area Black communities to the south and east on the Assembly level.
- Inland Empire: Draft maps have split Black communities at the Assembly and Congressional level, including Rialto at the Assembly level, which is also paired with dissimilar areas south and east of San Bernardino like Loma Linda, Redlands, and Mentone.
The Black Hub will mobilize their coalition of 30 Black-led and Black-serving organizations and the residents they serve, in addition to other partners and allies. The intention is to support the commission and their line-drawers with clear input and direction on creating a map that empowers BIPOC communities throughout California.
About the California Black Census and Redistricting Hub: The California Black Census and Redistricting Hub, "The Black Hub," is a project of California Calls. The Black Hub is a coalition of over 30 Black-led and Black-serving grassroots organizations throughout California that engage, educate, and mobilize Black communities, including those most impacted by systemic racism in housing, education, criminal justice, immigration, and economic policies and practices. Learn more by visiting CABlackHub.org.
California Black Census and Redistricting Hub
Lanae Norwood, Strategic Communications Director
SOURCE California Black Census and Redistricting Hub