Redistricting Commission’s NY Assembly plan divides Asians American communities in Queens and Brooklyn
NEW YORK — Yesterday, the New York Independent Redistricting Commission (NYIRC) passed a single plan for the New York State Assembly that continues to divide Asian American communities in Queens and in south Brooklyn, potential violations of the federal Voting Rights Act. There were several key changes from the NYIRC’s prior plan. The NYIRC’s plan substantially adopts the current assembly plan that was implemented by the state legislature.
“The Commission’s proposed assembly plan shamefully discards the prior map’s district for Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park that kept the community mostly whole in one district, replacing it with almost the identical configuration of the current assembly lines, which divides this community into multiple districts. And in south Brooklyn, the plan now divides and dilutes the Asian American neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay in favor of two White plurality districts,” said Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director of AALDEF. “We support a full plan that does the best job in keeping all Asian American communities of interest whole, as well as Latino and Black communities of interest, in accordance with the federal Voting Rights Act and the New York State Constitution. This is supposed to be an independent process designed to protect communities of interest, but instead the Commission protected incumbency, maintaining the same lines the legislature would have drawn themselves.”
AALDEF is a member of the Unity Map Coalition representing Asian, Black, and Latino communities in New York City. AALDEF submitted 18 Asian American communities of interest for consideration by the NYIRC in the creation of new districting maps to reflect the population changes determined by the 2020 Census.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in New York City and the country and were the main driver of population growth in the city. The Asian population grew by 43% in Brooklyn, 29% in Queens, and 24% in Manhattan. The new district lines at all levels must reflect the tremendous growth in this community and the demographic shifts that have occurred over the last decade. The proposed NYIRC map does not do this and has unfairly and potentially illegally divided Asian American communities of interest throughout New York City.
AALDEF conducted the following detailed analysis of the proposed plan:
Districts 24, 31, and 38 (Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park) – The Asian American community of interest of Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park is currently divided among these three state assembly districts. The Unity Map (UM AD10) and the three previous plans by the NYIRC drew substantially similar district configurations for this community, which would allow it to remain almost entirely whole within one assembly district. The current proposal continues to divide this community among Districts 24, 31, and 38. This configuration will continue the decades long disenfranchisement of this community of interest and guarantees that the community will not be able to elect a candidate of its choice.
District 24 (Richmond Hill, Briarwood, Jamaica Hills) – This Asian plurality district (35% Asian) has been changed to more closely resemble the existing lines adopted by the legislature and dismantles the prior NYIRC configuration that allowed Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park to be kept mostly whole in one district. The Unity Map (UM AD2) was able to improve this Asian plurality district (to 43% Asian) by removing the Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park portion to the west of the Van Wyck Expressway and including more Asian American communities of interest along the Hillside Avenue corridor, including the community of interest of Queens Village/Bellerose/Floral Park/Glen Oaks. This community of interest is divided among three districts in the NYIRC proposal: 33, 26, and 24.
District 25 (Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bayside/Auburndale, Oakland Gardens) - This Asian majority district (59%) largely remains the same but now more closely resembles the existing lines adopted by the legislature.
District 26 (Bayside/Auburndale, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks/Floral Park) – This district now more closely resembles the existing lines adopted by the legislature, but it remains a plurality Asian district (from 42% Asian, 40% White). The Unity Map (UM AD1) creates a plurality Asian district (44% Asian, 42% White) in eastern Queens that crosses into Western Nassau.
District 30 (Elmhurst, Woodside, Jackson Heights) – This proposed district is a new Asian-majority district (52.4% Asian). District 30 mostly adopts the Unity Map configuration (UM AD16), moving it westward and including more White population to the south – and excluding portions of Woodside. This configuration substantially adopts the existing assembly lines for the neighboring Latino majority districts (Districts 34 and 39) as well.
District 40 (Flushing) – This Asian majority district (68%) largely remains the same but makes similar adjustments to the Unity Map (UM AD8) along the southern boundary with District 25 to allow South Asian communities to stay whole within District 25.
District 41 and 45 (Sheepshead Bay) - The Asian community of interest of Sheepshead Bay is split almost completely half, now more closely resembling the current assembly lines adopted by the legislature.
District 47 (Bensonhurst) - This Asian plurality assembly district in Brooklyn is largely maintained (42% Asian), and markedly improved from the prior NYIRC plan, which divided Bensonhurst and replaced this Asian plurality district with two White plurality districts. The proposed district is substantially similar to the current assembly lines adopted by the legislature.
District 49 (Sunset Park/Bensonhurst) – This Asian majority assembly district in Brooklyn is largely maintained (57% Asian).
District 87 (Parkchester/Westchester Square/Castle Hill) - The district is largely maintained and continues to resemble the existing lines adopted by the legislature.
District 65 (Chinatown/Lower East Side) – This Asian plurality district (37%) is largely maintained, but changed from the prior NYIRC map, to no longer include the World Trade Center and Battery Park City.
Click the below links to see AALDEF’s communities of interest superimposed over different plans for New York State Assembly districts:
Proposed NYIRC Plan (April 2023)
For additional information, contact:
Stuart J. Sia