SCSJ Hosts Week-long Redistricting Training and Education Program

Written by Anthony Maglione
What does it mean to not have a meaningful opportunity to elect candidates of your choice? And what does that have to do with redistricting, the redrawing of election districts in our communities based on census numbers?
Many of us – especially low-wealth communities of color – already know what it means because the local candidates we vote for never get elected. A long history of unjust redistricting intended to split and dilute our voting strength is one of the main culprits, but we can prevent that history from repeating.
Last week, SCSJ convened a week-long Expert Preparation and Community Education Program as part of the Community Census & Redistricting Institute. Held in Durham, NC, the program trained folks traditionally involved with redistricting – social scientists, map-makers and lawyers – and joined them with representatives from community organizations. Over 100 participants throughout the country came together to discuss the importance of empowering grassroots low-wealth communities of color to promote fair representation during the 2011 redistricting round.

We left with an understanding that redistricting is about equity and fairness, not simply about the shape of an electoral district. The process of redrawing districts does not happen without people, and the people who are directly affected – those living within the communities where districts are drawn – must be involved in the process.
Check out the Community Census & Redistricting Institute’s webpage for updates as we continue to build the site as a clearinghouse of information for folks looking to get involved with redistricting their own communities.