FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2021
Sailor Jones, Communications Director, SCSJ firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-260-5906
Mary Dell Hayes, Project Manager, SC Counts, email@example.com, 803-730-7785
South Carolina Counts and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center join the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) to prepare South Carolina residents to engage and educate communities in fair districting
COLUMBIA, S.C. (September 10, 2021) — As the nation gears up for this decade’s redistricting work, South Carolina Counts and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, in partnership with regional group Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) are hosting three South Carolina-based redistricting Fellows.
Each Fellow is a graduate of SCSJ’s Community Redistricting Organizations Working for Democracy (or CROWD) Academies. They are assigned to certain regions of the state to educate their communities on the principles of political redistricting and advocate for more inclusive and transparent map-making on the local, state and federal levels.
Fellows include Columbia’s Bridget Deline, Myrtle Beach’s Lindy Studds, and Spartanburg’s Charles Mann. Bridget Deline joined the Fellowship to ensure her work on the 2020 Census led to fair and community-based mapmaking in 2021. Fellow Lindy Studds, another veteran Census activist, is dedicated to engaging coastal South Carolinians in the process of mapping their own future. Motivating Charles Mann is a desire to improve his community and create a more equitable environment — “voting matters!”
“SC Appleseed is committed to empowering South Carolina residents to be part of the redistricting process. We will continue to support local communities that historically have been excluded unfairly. All South Carolinians deserve to have fair representation at every level of government. This is how our system of democracy is designed to work and participation is the only way to ensure all communities across our state receive their fair share of vital federal and state resources,” said Sue Berkowitz, Director of SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
”The South Carolina CROWD fellowship is the culmination of months of training and many hours of hard work by dedicated individuals committed to one common goal: fair voting districts,” said Irving Zavaleta, SCSJ’s Networks Director for Voting Rights. “South Carolina Fellows Bridget Deline, Lindy Studds, and Charles Mann are a testament to what happens when South Carolinians commit to mapping their community’s future for the next decade.”
Redistricting happens every 10 years after the decennial census and is an opportunity to draw new political district boundaries based on population changes. The goal of redistricting is to create equitable and competitive political districts so that people can be represented by legislators who will advocate on behalf of the community’s best interests.
As in many states, redistricting in South Carolina has not been well understood and communities across the state have had little say in the way their communities are mapped or represented.
In an effort to put the power back into the hands of South Carolina’s people, redistricting fellows are traveling the length of the state to show the people of the state how political maps impact their daily lives and what they can do to be a part of the map-making process.
Those interested in connecting with redistricting fellows for training and assistance should contact their state sponsors:
- South Carolina Counts, Mary Dell Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
- South Carolina Appleseed Legal Center, Sue Berkowitz, email@example.com
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, Facebook, and Instagram.
For forty years, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center has been a forceful and respected advocate for low-income South Carolinians on issues such as housing, education, hunger, public benefits, domestic violence, immigration, health care and consumer issues.
SC Counts partners work to empower, educate, and engage local communities around civic activities like census completion and redistricting. These federally mandated activities impact the most basic parts of every person’s life ranging from school zoning to where emergency services are placed to who represents the community in every elected office. Strengthening avenues for participation ensures all voices are heard at the decision making table.