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Unity Map Coalition Releases Congressional Plan for New York City

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 23, 2021

CONTACTS:
Sarai Bejarano⏐Manager of Traditional & Digital Media⏐LJ⏐212.739.7581⏐
[email protected]

Unity Map Coalition Releases Congressional Plan for New York City

AALDEF, CLSJ, and LatinoJustice of the Unity Map Coalition Complete UNITY Map Redistricting Plan
 

New York, NY— On Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021, the UNITY MAP COALITION, an alliance of the leading legal voting rights advocacy organizations representing people of color in New York City, released its proposed Congressional redistricting plan. The Coalition’s Congressional district plan completes its Unity Map redistricting plan for New York City, which has received sustained public support across all five boroughs.

“At a time when nationwide, political forces are diluting the voting power of communities of color who for centuries were locked out of the ballot box, the Unity Map Coalition Congressional plan ensures that Black, Asian, and Latino New Yorkers receive their fair share of federal representation, says Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq, Executive Director, Center of Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College (CLSJ). "Like the other district plans generated by our Coalition, our Congressional plan provides a model for redistricting that preserves the racial and ethnic diversity of the district and its representatives. Our approach cements the political voice of our communities in the nation’s democracy.”

“The release of our Congressional plan completes our Unity Map proposals for the current redistricting cycle. These plans continue to be a guiding post for how to ensure that historically marginalized communities no longer bear the brunt of a redistricting process that cancels out their voting power “says Lourdes M. Rosado, President & General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Access to the ballot remains a crucial aspect in having a representative democracy and as such we can no longer stand by a redistricting process that fails to protect our electoral power. As a Coalition, we remain committed to advocating for the adoption of maps that protect the voice and vote of the Latino, Black and Asian community.”

“Despite now making up 7% of the U.S. population, Asian Americans only represent 3% of Congress. This painful history of exclusion is intolerable, especially in New York amidst the ever-growing power of the Asian American electorate and the vibrant neighborhoods they live in. With the release of the Unity Map’s Congressional plan, these diverse Asian American communities will have the voice in national politics they deserve. The Unity Map demonstrates that a fair map can be drawn that keeps communities of interest together, allows communities of color to participate equally in elections, and complies with the mandates of the Voting Rights Act,” says Jerry Vattamala, Director of the Democracy Program at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

Census data drove the creation of Unity Map Congressional districts, which were further informed by the City’s communities of interest. The Coalition’s Congressional plan stands in stark contrast to the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission’s (IRC) competing Congressional plans. The IRC’s Congressional proposals divide communities of color and work to diminish the ability of communities of color to elect candidates of their choice. In contrast, the Coalition’s proposed Congressional districts maintain and strengthen the voting power of New York City’s Black, Latino and Asian communities. Plans that reduce minority voting strength cannot be entertained as New York’s population expansion over the last decade has been fueled almost entirely by the growth of BIPOC communities. These changes in New York’s population and demographic composition must be reflected in new Congressional districts.

The Unity Map Congressional district plan also endeavored to keep communities of interest intact. The existing districts and many of the IRC’s proposed districts divide communities of interest and diminish the electoral power of our communities. The Coalition’s plan ensures that the brunt of divided communities does not fall disproportionately on New Yorkers of color. The Coalition was able to correct the historic splintering of communities of color by containing Richmond Hill and South Ozone park in a single Congressional district. We were also able to reunite the communities of Ocean Hill and Brownsville in a Congressional district and joined Flatbush and East Flatbush in another Congressional district.

“Communities of interest who share the same backgrounds and concerns form the core of our approach to mapping,” says Dr. Zulema Blair, CLSJ Redistricting Research Director. “The redistricting process creates boundaries for communities of interest to ensure that they have or are able to develop the political, economic, and social infrastructural needs of their districts for decades to come. Districts allow residents to choose candidates and elect representatives that can respond to their points of advocacy. Candidates that are chosen should be able to work with the communities of interest to preserve their historic boundaries.”

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

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About the UNITY MAP COALITION
The Coalition has been at the forefront of nonpartisan redistricting to protect communities of color for the last three decades. 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.

About AALDEF
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.

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.

About LatinoJustice
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