City Hall, NY – As the New York City Council redistricting process continues with newly announced hearings by the New York City Districting Commission, Speaker Adrienne Adams outlined her concerns with the first draft maps for dividing communities of color and communities of interest, conflicting with the Charter-mandated protections to ensure fair representation. The Speaker also reiterated her encouragement for the public to participate in the next steps of the redistricting process.
Speaker Adams released the following statement:
“The Council is deeply committed to maintaining the integrity of the New York City Districting Commission, and it is critical that an independent process bound by the guidelines and protections set forth in the Charter is allowed to proceed. There are important foundational principles that need to be prioritized in this process, yet the first set of preliminary maps appear to violate these and do not ensure the adequate representation of certain groups of New Yorkers.
Maintaining three districts that remain entirely in Staten Island is inconsistent with population changes, creates a malapportionment issue that undermines the ‘one person-one vote’ principle, and forces irrational changes to districts in other boroughs. This seems to be a driving factor in the Commission’s preliminary district boundaries undermining protections for historically marginalized communities of color and for communities of interest, as mandated by the Voting Rights Act and New York City Charter.
In particular, the preliminary maps break up historically Latino communities in Sunset Park and Red Hook, diluting their voices across multiple districts. Communities of interest in South Brooklyn that have historically been kept together would be separated. Filipino and Tibetan communities in Western Queens would also be divided into multiple districts.
In Southeast Queens, the draft maps threaten to significantly dilute the impact of Black voters by placing them in a new district as an overwhelming minority. Rochdale Village, which is now the largest affordable co-op development of Black homeowners in Queens, continues to be separated into different districts despite being a united community that deserves to be in a singular district. Additionally, South Asian communities in Southeast Queens continue to be unfairly divided, adding to the marginalization of their voices and representation.
It is critical that new City Council district lines not only keep communities of interest together, but also preserve principles that were established to protect and enfranchise historically marginalized communities of color.
As the redistricting process moves forward, with the next round of public hearings just announced for this month, it is absolutely critical for all New Yorkers to make their voices heard on these preliminary maps. As the New York City Districting Commission has indicated, public input is vital to ensure communities and their interests continue to be effectively represented in the New York City Council. I strongly encourage members of all communities to weigh in throughout this important process.”
Below is a schedule of the New York City Districting Commission’s upcoming hearings:
NEW YORK CITY DISTRICTING COMMISSION’S NEXT ROUND OF PUBLIC HEARINGS
|DATE & TIME||VENUE & BOROUGH|
|Tues., Aug. 16 5:30 to 9 pm||Museum of the Moving Image, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106|
|Wed., Aug. 17 5:30 to 9 pm||Lehman College (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468|
|Thurs., Aug. 18 5:30 to 9 pm||Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125|
|Sun., Aug 21 3:30 to 7 pm||Medgar Evers College (CUNY), School of Science Health & Technology, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn.11225|
|Mon., Aug. 22 5:30 to 9 pm||Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037|
In addition to testifying in person or by Zoom, the public may also submit written testimony and maps by email to PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov, and by mail at NYC Districting Commission, 253 Broadway, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10007.