FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2021
Sailor Jones, Communications Director, SCSJ, email@example.com, 919-260-5906
Fair Maps Texas, the Texas NAACP, and the League of Women Voters Texas join the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) to prepare Texas residents to engage and educate communities in fair districting
AUSTIN, TX (September 22, 2021) — As the nation gears up for this decade’s redistricting work, Fair Maps Texas, the Texas NAACP, and the League of Women Voters Texas, in partnership with regional group Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), are hosting two Texas-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 Galveston’s own Roxy D. Hall Williamson, who saw this fellowship as an opportunity to strengthen her local mobilizing strategy for community-based mapmaking and empowerment. Fellow Bindu Jose of Houston says she is “tired of witnessing overwhelming constituent support for issues that politicians simply ignore,” and she’s ready to join the fight for fair representation.
“The Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches is enthused to have formed a partnership to work with two great and reliable old friends, the Texas League of Women Voters and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, in a redistricting project that is designed and intended to provide a voice and effective advocacy to groups who have been traditionally disenfranchised,” said Gary L. Bledsoe, Esq., President of the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches. “This project will make our nation stronger by widening the level of effective participation in the local redistricting process throughout Texas and could not be more timely in light of recent national and statewide events negatively impacting likely political outcomes for minority voters.”
“State and local governments often have a far greater impact on people’s lives than the federal government. That is why the League of Women of Voters of Texas is proud to take part in this effort to advocate for fair and open districting practices at the local level,” said Grace Chimene, President of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “We are committed to empowering the voices in our communities that have traditionally been shut out of the redistricting process and will work to ensure that the district maps drawn build trust in our elections and our government.”
”The Texas 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 in the Lone Star State,” said Irving Zavaleta-Jimenez, SCSJ’s Networks Director for Voting Rights. “Texas Fellows Roxy D. Hall Williamson and Bindu Jose are a testament to what happens when local activists 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 Texas 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 Texas’ 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:
- Texas NAACP, Gary Bledsoe, firstname.lastname@example.org
- League of Women Voters Texas, Stephanie Swanson, email@example.com
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
The League of Women Voters of Texas is a nonpartisan, grassroots civic organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to people 16 and older of all gender identities. With 100 years of experience, the League is one of America’s oldest and most trusted civic nonprofit organizations.
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.