Launches “Redistricting & You” tool for easy comparisons between current and proposed districts
BOSTON – The Drawing Democracy Coalition today revealed their Unity Map for Congressional redistricting in Massachusetts. The map preserves the majority-minority status of the Seventh Congressional District, which was drawn during the 2011 redistricting process, as well as unites the immigrant communities of Fall River and New Bedford into the Ninth Congressional District. An interactive version of the map can be accessed here.
Drawing Democracy also announced the launch of a new tool developed in partnership with the Center for Urban Research at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York that provides easy visual comparisons between current districts and proposed districts. The “Redistricting & You” tool allows users to toggle between current Congressional, State House and State Senate Districts and the new districts proposed by Drawing Democracy. Users can also click on specific districts to receive comprehensive demographic data. The tool will be updated with proposed districts from the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting once they are released.
“Drawing Democracy is proud to release our Congressional Unity Map today, which builds on the success of the 2011 redistricting process and the proposals outlined in our state legislative Unity Maps to further build political power for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities,” said Beth Huang, convener of the Drawing Democracy Coalition and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table. “Drawing Democracy is also proud to partner with The Graduate Center at the City University of New York to launch the Redistricting & You tool, which will help us move toward our goals of democratizing data and demystifying the redistricting process for community members.”
"Redistricting impacts everyone, and we're glad everyone in Massachusetts will be able to use this online map to see how their districts may change for the next 10 years," said Steven Romalewski, mapping services director at the Center for Urban Research at The Graduate Center, CUNY, whose team developed the Redistricting & You mapping platform. "The map makes it easy to search by street address or other location and zoom in to see how current lines compare with proposed districts, along with a wealth of information about local population and voting patterns. We're honored to partner with the Drawing Democracy Coalition on this project, whose groups played a key role supporting the 2020 Census."
One of the major changes proposed in the Congressional Unity map is uniting all of Fall River into one district. Currently, the city is split between the Fourth and Ninth Districts. The Unity Map calls for combining all of Fall River and New Bedford into the Ninth District, thus uniting the immigrant communities of the two cities that have many shared interests. This change was proposed by the Coalition for Social Justice, a Drawing Democracy Coalition member, after extensive conversations with community members.
“This map is a representation of what makes our process so strong. Community members in Fall River and New Bedford made their voices heard about how they want their districts to be drawn, and our proposed map reflects their wishes,” said Huang. “We urge the Redistricting Committee to listen to the voices of South Coast residents and adopt these changes, as well as the other proposals in our Unity Maps.”
“The Coalition for Social Justice spoke with more than 100 community members about what they want to see from redistricting, and overwhelmingly we heard a desire for uniting the immigrant, BIPOC and working-class communities of New Bedford and Fall River in the same congressional district,” said Dax Crocker, Democracy HUB Coordinator at the Coalition for Social Justice. “Our communities deserve representatives who will be focused on our unique needs and priorities. We’re proud that the Drawing Democracy Unity Map reflects our recommendations, and we urge the Redistricting Committee to adopt these proposed districts.”
The release of the Congressional Unity Map follows the release of the State House and State Senate Unity Maps, which are also accessible through the Redistricting & You tool. Drawing Democracy’s proposed House map increases the number of majority-minority districts based on population from 20 to 29, including five districts that are majority-Latinx and six that are majority-Black. The proposed Senate map increases the number of majority-minority districts based on population from three to seven, including creating a majority-Black CVAP district in Boston.