FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2021
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Durham, N.C. — Continuing its efforts launched last year, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) will partner with community organizations to offer in-depth training sessions to educate community organizers on the redistricting process and advocating for fair maps for communities of color in 2021-2022 redistricting efforts. Community Redistricting Organizations Working for Democracy (CROWD) Academies equip individuals and organizations with tools to monitor and engage with redistricting processes at every level of government, spot problematic developments and take action if redistricting decisions are likely to infringe on the right to an equal opportunity to participate in elections.
After conducting 16 CROWD Academies in six states in 2020, SCSJ will partner with groups across six states to hold an additional 11 Academies in the upcoming months.
State and local governments are preparing to begin the first redistricting cycle since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 rendered Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act inapplicable. This key provision required more than a dozen states with a history of racially discriminatory voting practices to submit new districts to the federal government for approval. This redistricting cycle also follows a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2019 that prevented federal challenges to partisan gerrymandering.
“Coming off the heels of record-breaking voter turnout in 2020, it’s important we continue to engage with and educate voters, recognizing the power of empowered voters to affect outcomes,” said Allison Riggs, chief voting rights counsel and interim executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “With thousands of voting districts changing without the protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for the first time in decades, it is imperative people understand how government can use the redistricting process to try maintain power or further minimize the voice of often underrepresented communities.”
CROWD Academies address:
- How the redistricting process works and points of intervention
- Legal and equity considerations when drawing or analyzing districts
- How communities can analyze proposed voting maps and how to draw and submit their own
- Effective organizing, communications and legislative advocacy strategies for successful community interventions
Last year, nearly 400 community leaders were trained in CROWD Academies in six states. Additional CROWD Academies are planned for Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.