Asian American and Latino Groups Gear Up for NYC Redistricting

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Common Cause NY: 212-691-6421

Asian Americans for Equality: Flora Ferng – 212-964-2288

Casita Comunal de Sunset Park: David Galarza – 917-573-9250

August 2, 2012

Asian American and Latino Groups Gear Up for NYC Redistricting

Asian Americans for Equality, Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, and Common Cause NY Announce Redistricting Workshop in Southwest Brooklyn

In response to major population growth in Southwest Brooklyn, Asian and Latino community organizations today announced a partnership with redistricting experts at Common Cause NY to maximize their representation in the New York City Council. Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, and Common Cause NY, will co-host a redistricting workshop for members of the 38th Council District.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the workshop this Saturday, August 4th at PS 94, 6th Avenue & 50th Street, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn from 12-2PM.

Common Cause NY, AAFE and Casita Comunal are hosting the workshop in anticipation of the Brooklyn Public Hearing of the NYC Districting Commission, on Monday, August 13th, from 5-9PM at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Southwest Brooklyn (defined as south of Green-Wood Cemetery, west of Ocean Parkway/F Train) has seen major demographic changes in the last decade. The total voting-age population (VAP) in the area has increased by 4.4%, driven by a rapid increase in Asian and Hispanic populations, which offset a decline in the non-Hispanic white voting-age population.

Total Voting Age Population (VAP) : +20,287 (+4.4%) to 463,512 or 41.9% of the district

Non-Hispanic Asian VAP: +42,579 (+36%) to 119,614 or 32.8% of the district

Hispanic VAP: +11,564 (+13%) to 88,492

Non-Hispanic White VAP: -25,196 (-11%) to 234,237

“Redistricting is a once a decade opportunity, designed to ensure that demographic changes in the census are reflected in our democracy. Public participation is essential to ensure fairly drawn districts that accurately reflect local communities. Common Cause NY is proud to help educate the public and engage them in an often arcane process,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause NY.

The workshop will include a detailed presentation from Common Cause NY on the meaning and requirements of the redistricting process, followed by breakout sessions where participants will discuss, define, and map their communities of interest-neighborhood areas that should be kept together within a single council district whenever possible. Each group will also receive a packet of maps with information about demographics, income, education, family type and land use.

“Asian Americans for Equality is supportive of a redistricting process that ensures fair and effective representation of Asian American and other minority groups, especially in communities like Sunset Park where Asian Americans now make up 32.7% according to the 2010 Census. Furthermore, AAFE believes district lines should keep neighborhoods and communities intact to preserve their history and cultural contributions to our city, said Christopher Kui, Executive Director of AAFE.

“This process is about making sure that our voices as a community are heard and respected,” said David Galarza, a coordinator at La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park. “The Asian American and Latino community may not share a common language but we share many common goals and dreams for ourselves and our families.”

The New York City Districting Commission, charged with drawing new City Council districts by March 5, 2013, is holding public hearings in each borough from August 13-23.

See the Commission’s website for a full schedule of public hearings and details

Fair and representative redistricting plans help ensure that elected officials will be responsive to voters and their community needs. Public participation in map drawing is critical to ensuring that communities have the strongest voice possible to express their preferences. When voters with similar interests are drawn into a district together, their voices multiply, giving them a greater opportunity to express their views, elect candidates of their choice, and hold their leaders accountable.