Unity Map Coalition Urges NYC Districting Commission to Comply with Legal Obligations to Protected Groups
NEW YORK — Yesterday, the NYC Districting Commission voted 13 to1 to send their revised districting plan to New York City Council. Yet the Unity Map Coalition points out that the revised plan still has many of the same issues as the prior rejected maps, drawing lines that divide the protected communities the Commission is mandated to prioritize.
The Unity Map Coalition, a consortium of leading legal voting rights organizations representing people of color in New York City, reiterates that under the New York City Charter (the Charter) “the Commission’s primary obligation, after population equality, is to ensure the fair and effective representation of the racial and language minority groups in New York city which are protected by the United States Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the maximum extent practicable.”
The coalition took issue with several neighborhoods that have faced historic marginalization of Asian Americans that the revised maps would continue to propagate, including Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park, Woodside, and Elmhurst. Furthermore, the revised plan’s Council District 11 goes out of its way to avoid a population increase from the Latino populations all along its southern boundary, instead choosing to go further into District 12 in its northernmost eastern boundary. Similarly, this plan continues to crack District 12, which the coalition advocates against. This district has grown more Latino in the last decade, which the Unity Map reflects with an appropriate increase of 49% Latino VAP. We strongly encourage this Commission to follow demographic growth and not dilute the Latino communities’ voting strength.
The Unity Map creates districts that address the unfair treatment of Black, Latinx, and Asian communities, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Charter. Our review of the Commission’s revised plan is ongoing, and will continue to engage in upcoming hearings with additional feedback from the communities we represent.
“At stake is the democratic representation of the various community members of our great city for the next ten years, simply put their voice and collective vision should define the process. The Charter requires you to follow a prioritized list and to apply that criteria to the maximum extent practicable. You must comply with your legal obligations in drafting a new city council map. We will use all available resources to ensure that you do, including legal action.”
- Read our letter to the NYC Districting Commission, prior to the vote HERE.
Stuart Sia⏐firstname.lastname@example.org⏐AALDEF⏐212.966.5932 ext. 203
About the UNITY MAP COALITION:
The UNITY MAP COALITION is comprised of the leading legal voting rights advocacy organizations representing people of color in New York City: LatinoJustice/PRLDEF; the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY; and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. During the last Redistricting cycle in 2010-11, the Coalition successfully advocated for the adoption of its historic Unity Map for the 2010 Redistricting Congressional districts in NYC, the State Senate and Assembly, and the New York City Council. This Coalition rewrote redistricting history in NYS and serves as a model for the nation of collective advocacy and power sharing by diverse racial and cultural communities within a jurisdiction.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national organization founded in 1974, protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all. AALDEF focuses on critical issues affecting Asian Americans including immigrant rights, voting rights and democracy, economic justice for workers, educational equity, housing and environmental justice, and the elimination of anti-Asian violence. Learn more about AALDEF at www.aaldef.org.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.LatinoJustice.org.
About The Center For Law And Social Justice At Medgar Evers College
CLSJ’s mission is to address racial justice issues by providing quality legal advocacy, conducting community education campaigns, facilitating research and building organizing capacity on behalf of New Yorkers of African descent and the disenfranchised. To learn more about CLSJ visit www.CLSJ.org.