NY Daily News: Time for a new approach to redistricting: Embrace the Unity Map (Opinion)
By Lurie Daniel Favors, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College
After the breakdown of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), the Democratic-dominated state Legislature is about to draw its own maps. While their maps will most likely strengthen that party’s hold on the state Assembly and Senate and U.S. Congress in our state, the question remains whether or not they will also reflect the electoral strength of diverse New York communities and if they will protect those groups that are protected by the Voting Rights Act.
It doesn’t need to be this way. The Legislature can and should pass maps drawn by a coalition of nonprofits that are intended to keep communities together and maximize their democratic participation rights. Those maps, the Unity Maps, should be the basis for redistricting.
The Unity Map Coalition, which includes the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, was formed in the last redistricting cycle to fight against redistricting processes that far too often diminish the voting strength diverse communities of interest. Our maps are based on Census data and informed by the city’s communities of interest. They provide accurate reflections of demographic changes in our city’s population and exclude partisan political calculations from the redistricting process.
Daniel Favors is executive director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, a member of the Unity Maps Coalition.