Media Briefing: Coalition of Voting Rights and Community Organizations File Lawsuit to Include Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color in State’s Redistricting Process
- Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera (651) 341-9734 firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, Common Cause Minnesota, OneMN.org, Voices for Racial Justice, and a voter co-plaintiff will brief the media on the preemptive lawsuit they jointly filed to ensure Minnesotans of color are represented in the state’s redistricting process. The coalition’s filing focuses solely on the interests of Black, Indigenous, Minnesotans of color, and other disenfranchised communities.
In case you missed today’s media briefing, you can find the video link here. You can view the intervention petition filing here and the memorandum here. Select quotes from the briefing, in order of speakers, are below.
Regarding the importance of redistricting:
“Redistricting is the most important issue facing our state this year — too important not to protect the voting rights and interests of Black, Indigenous, Minnesotans of color, and other disenfranchised Minnesotans who call this state home. Unfair redistricting means some in our community have a voice, while others are silenced. Every Minnesotan should be fairly represented in new district maps, regardless of their race, ethnicity, zip code, income, or political affiliation. Many Minnesotans are not fairly represented in maps potentially because of racial gerrymandering,” said Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera, Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota.
Regarding the legal aspect of the lawsuit:
“With the lawsuit we filed today, we are asking the Special Redistricting Panel to give Minnesotans of color a seat at the table. In redistricting cases, Courts in Minnesota and elsewhere have recognized that participation by those with a diverse set of interests and a stake in the outcome is critical. We agree. And at this moment in history, it is critically important that Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and Minnesotans of Color be allowed to participate,” said Brian Dillon, partner at Lathrop GPM and lead attorney for Common Cause Minnesota, OneMN.org, and Voices for Racial Justice.
Regarding the history of redistricting in Minnesota:
Since 2000, we’ve advocated for the state to protect BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities in the redistricting process. Having been in this space for so many years, we understand that redistricting will determine if every community in Minnesota will have the power to hold our leaders accountable, if we have free and fair elections, and of course, who we will vote for in Congressional, state, and local elections for the next ten years. This year, we have a great opportunity to get this right so that every Minnesotan has an equal voice in our government, no matter who they are or where they come from,” said Brett Buckner, Managing Director of OneMN.org.
Regarding redistricting as a tool for community empowerment:
“Voices for Racial Justice is strongly supportive of this lawsuit, and we are grateful to be part of this coalition dedicated to ensuring the Black, Indigenous, and other Minnesotans of color’s rights and interests are represented in this important democratic process. We believe we need to build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard, where every eligible American has the right to vote for better working conditions, stronger schools, and racial justice. In a democracy, political power belongs to all of us,” said Monica Hurtado, Community Organizer with Voices for Racial Justice.
Regarding the impact of unfair redistricting on individual electoral power:
“The way our state’s political districts are drawn means Minnesotans of color like me don’t have a voice, despite being the fastest-growing demographic in the state, responsible for driving our economy. So many Minnesotans don’t have an equal say in our government because the state unfairly drew maps in the last redistricting process. And when we try to play an active role in democracy, we are denied political power. Our lawsuit is about making sure every Minnesota voter can vote for issues that impact our daily lives — a stronger economy, better schools, quality healthcare, and so much more. I am joining this lawsuit today to ensure that all of our children and grandchildren can fully participate and have representation in our democracy,” said Aida Simon, plaintiff and voter from Congressional District 1.