23 Aug Introducing the People’s Bloc: A Coalition Dedicated to An Equitable Redistricting Process
Black and Brown communities need clear pathways to elect people who know what it is like to navigate America as a person of color and who will carry with them into office the commitment to fight for our issues. The 2020 Census data is showing that demographics are changing rapidly. And history has proven that those in power generally attempt to hold on to it even tighter when that happens. One of those attempts is through redistricting–the once-every-ten-year process of redrawing voting maps.
The redistricting process is supposed to ensure that the people choose their elected representatives. But when corrupt redistricting practices–otherwise known as gerrymandering–take place, it lets politicians choose their base to ensure they keep their seats. In order to make sure the current redistricting cycle is accountable to the community, Community Coalition has joined The People’s Bloc–a 34-organization coalition whose mission is to ensure redistricting is guided by racial equity and results in increased power and representation for BIPOC communities.
When our communities are disempowered, it’s the people who suffer. For example, in 2001, Watts’ district lines were drawn in ways that decreased residents’ ability to elect candidates whose interests aligned with their own and were also detrimental to the health and safety of the community. As a result, a 2003 flood devastated communities in Watts and was compounded by inaction due to the district being split between three different legislative representatives.
The importance of the People’s Bloc is amplified by forces that have led to Black displacement from Los Angeles to areas like the Antelope Valley and beyond. Historically boxed out of economic and employment opportunities while facing ever-increasing rents, many Black people have been priced out of the city their families have lived in for generations. A fair redistricting process acknowledges this displacement and works to counteract it via Black voters having a voice in electing leadership–despite demographic shifts.
The People’s Bloc is committed to prioritizing people/communities that have been historically oppressed and ignored. We are a multi-racial alliance unified around the overall goal of using this opportunity to dismantle white supremacy. Community participation is an integral principle to which we are committed. We strive to include voices traditionally marginalized during the redistricting process. Lastly, we want to center power-building organizations. We have prioritized the inclusion of groups that work directly with the people and are devoted to base building and leadership development so this year’s redistrict process is shaped from a grassroots perspective.
With the release of the 2020 Census data, the redistricting season is truly underway. We hope you join in these efforts to get involved. To learn how, email our Director of Civic Engagement, Kirk Samuels, at firstname.lastname@example.org.