AAFE is joining forces with Common Cause/NY and Casita Comunal de Sunset Park to make sure diverse communities maximize their representation on the New York City Council. In response to major population growth in Southwest Brooklyn, we co-hosted a redistricting workshop on August 4 for members of the 38th Council District. The workshop was held in anticipation of the Brooklyn Public Hearing of the NYC Districting Commission, on Monday, August 13th, from 5-9 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Southwest Brooklyn  (south of Green-Wood Cemetery, west of Ocean Parkway) has seen major demographic changes in the last decade. The total voting-age population in the area has increased by 4.4%, driven by a rapid increases in Asian and Hispanic populations.  The Asian-American voting-age population has increased by 36% to just under 33% of the district. The Hispanic voting-age population has jumped 13%, and the number of white, non-Hispanic residents old enough to vote has declined by 11%.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY said:

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.
Chris Kui, AAFE’s executive director, added:
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.
David Galarza, a coordinator at La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, said:

This process is about making sure that our voices as a community are heard and respected… 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 workshop included a detailed presentation from Common Cause/NY on the redistricting process, followed by breakout sessions in which participants had the opportunity to discuss, define and map their communities of interest.  The New York City Redistricting 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.

 

NEWS COVERAGE

Brooklyn Asian, Latino Groups Huddle with Common Cause Before Council Redistricting Meet (link) – Daily News; August 2, 2012.

Asian, Latino groups Want Demographics Reflected in City Council (link); NY1, August 2, 2012