NAME PAC Statement on RedistrictingMembers of the National Association for Multicultural Education know that numbers matter. That certainly is the case now that the 2020 U.S. Census count is official, leading to local and congressional redistricting efforts to redraw voting jurisdictions. Continuing white supremacist attempts to suppress the vote, through legal, violent and redlining means, local battles are being waged to redraw boundary lines to maintain or increase political power. That’s known as gerrymandering, with lines being drawn in the oddest configurations to diminish the impact of community of color votes. NAME sees these current voter suppression efforts as attempts to lessen the possibility for new candidates, especially candidates of color, to emerge from local, state and national political and power structures. Redistricting is yet another assault on voting rights to ensure local communities of color do not have a say in local politics.
The U.S. Supreme Court in a June 25, 2013, ruling stripped a key section from the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, enabling states with a long history of voting discrimination to no longer need federal approval to change their election process. Since that decision, new voter suppression laws have emerged nationwide, making voting more difficult — particularly for people of color, intentionally excluded by strict voter ID requirements, rollbacks in early and mail-in voting, limiting polling stations, and purging eligible voters from voter rolls. Efforts in Congress to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 have stalled. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision in 2019, added to the problem, ruling that partisan redistricting is a political issue and therefore not reviewable by federal courts. This decision throws the responsibility onto the shoulders of the legislative branch and states to police redistricting efforts.
NAME knows that means that the only way to ensure equity in redistricting is for individuals who care about social justice to get involved at every level of these processes. NAME urges educators and all others who support democratic processes in the United States to:
- Attend public meetings where redistricting will be discussed;
- Speak up at those hearings to press for districts to be drawn fairly and not to benefit one party, candidate, or community over others;
- Contact local officials responsible for redrawing political boundaries and let them know how fairness has to be factored into the process;
- Recruit others in the struggle so that they, too, can add their voices to the efforts for meaningful change;
- Push your congressional representative to advocate and vote for the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.
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email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 202-679-NAME (6263)