Marginalized groups seek to be on the (redistribution) map

The NARF works with organizers throughout the state of Alaska, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, and locally i...


The NARF works with organizers throughout the state of Alaska, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, and locally in parts of Michigan, Minnesota, Utah and Wisconsin on a new project called Fair Districting in Indian Country. They will use mapping software to define communities down to street level, helping them suggest to redistributors where to draw lines.

As early as June, the Western Native Voice advocacy group told its organizers in Montana – which gets a second House seat due to population growth – to use this software and send data about their communities to the NARF. . During a three-day training in Bozeman, southern Montana this month, WNV leaders stressed that communities of interest can be defined not only by race and ethnicity, but also by something as specific as a shared water source threatened by pollution.

Now that the census data is out, the first order of business is to “explain it to the organizers and the field team, as this is likely going to come in a somewhat messy format for the general public,” Keaton Sunchild , the political director of Western Native Voice, said in an interview Thursday morning. “We’re going to explain to them what that means to them, and then we’ll use that data to shape our message” for a state redistribution commission hearing in October.

Ahead of this hearing, Sunchild said, the organizers of Western Native Voice will discuss their priorities with tribal leaders. For example, he said, the Crow tribe and the Northern Cheyenne tribe in southern Montana share a state legislative district and do not want to be separated during redistribution.

Beyond mapping, advocates who want those responsible for redistribution to treat specific groups as communities of interest must show that these groups are cohesive, that is, they have common interests that justify to keep them together.

Mr Makhija cited a study by Indian American Impact in Georgia, which found that a large majority of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans – and even more American Indians – voted Democratic in the presidential election and the second round of the Senate. He said the group plans to do similar research in other states and will focus their efforts on California, Georgia, New York and Texas.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund also plans to push constituency officials in states with independent commissions to treat LGBTQ people as communities of interest, such as my colleague Aishvarya Kavi reported on Wednesday. The Victory Fund cites the creation of a San Diego City Council neighborhood centered on the Hillcrest neighborhood as a success; that district elected San Diego’s first openly gay public servant in the 1990s and has since been represented by a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Marginalized groups seek to be on the (redistribution) map
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