Drawing Democracy Reveals Unity Maps for State Legislative Redistricting

Proposed redistricting plan creates 29 majority-minority House Districts, 7 majority-minority Senate Districts


BOSTON – The Drawing Democracy Coalition today revealed their Unity Maps for State Senate and State House districts in Massachusetts. The proposed maps align with the coalition’s goals to keep communities of interest whole and increase political power for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities. Please see the glossary below for a detailed description of relevant terminology.


The 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. 27 of these districts are majority-minority according to Voting Age Population (VAP) and 16 are majority-minority according to Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP). The proposed House map includes majority-minority districts in cities that historically have never had majority-minority districts, including Everett, Framingham, Malden, New Bedford, Randolph, and Revere.


The 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. Building on the 2011 redistricting cycle, the proposed Senate map maintains a strong majority-minority coalition district by population in Boston and preserves a Black and Latinx district anchored in Springfield and Chicopee. The Senate map creates four new majority-minority districts based on population anchored in Lawrence and Methuen, Chelsea and Everett, East Boston and Lynn, and Brockton and Randolph.


“The Drawing Democracy Coalition is deeply grateful to our community partners who overcame the unprecedented challenges posed by the delayed 2020 Census data and helped us build maps that ensure more equitable representation for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities,” said Beth Huang, convener of the Drawing Democracy Coalition and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table. “The unity maps are the maps of the people – they reflect the shared interests that bind our communities together, such as housing, transportation, health care and education. We look forward to continuing to work with the Redistricting Committee to turn our proposals into reality and ensure fair districts for all.”


The unity maps were built based on around 100 community of interest maps and extensive conversations with community partners and legislative leaders from across Massachusetts. For a detailed breakdown of proposed changes to priority districts, please click here.


“For far too long, Boston’s Black population has seen their interests go ignored,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director at MassVOTE. “Whether it is in the realm of politics, or economics, or education, or criminal justice, Black Bostonians have suffered as their needs and interests received little – if any – consideration. But today, we are one step closer to changing that. Today, we are proposing that the State House and Senate implement legislative districts that empower Boston’s Black population. Today, we are demanding equity and justice in the political process.”


“The people of Chelsea deserve an equal voice in their government, and these unity maps bring us one step closer to that,” said Norieliz DeJesus, an organizer for La Colaborativa. “Chelsea has much more in common with Revere and East Boston than it does with Charlestown. By uniting the BIPOC and Immigrant communities of Chelsea, Revere and East Boston, we are better positioned to build political power and create meaningful change with our House of Representatives.”


“Redistricting is an opportunity to unite communities that share common bonds so that they can have the most effective representation in government,” said Rania Henriquez, Community Resources Coordinator for Elevated Thought. “The unity map is a step towards uniting the BIPOC and Immigrant communities in Lawrence and Methuen, rather than combining Lawrence with Andover. These changes will pave the way for stronger collaboration between these two communities when it comes to arts and culture, youth violence prevention, health care access and more.”


“The Coalition for Social Justice conducted interviews with more than 100 New Bedford residents, and they told us overwhelmingly that they want redistricting to be done in a way that ensures the voices of BIPOC and immigrant communities on the South Coast are heard,” said Dax Crocker, Democracy HUB Coordinator at the Coalition for Social Justice. “The unity map does this by reducing the number of State House districts in the city from five to three in New Bedford to ensure that the representatives are serving the city’s interests, creating a majority-minority district and keeping the Cape Verdean and Central American communities whole. We urge the Redistricting Committee to listen to the voices of community members and adopt these recommendations.”


“Brockton, Randolph and Stoughton are connected by shared interests around economic mobility and homeownership for BIPOC and immigrant communities,” said Will Dickerson, Executive Director of Brockton Interfaith Community. “By uniting these communities, we can better ensure that they have an advocate in the State Senate who listens to and understands the priorities of the district. The proposed changes in these unity maps are essential for giving BIPOC and immigrant communities the voice in our government that we need and deserve.”


Drawing Democracy has submitted their Unity Maps to the Redistricting Committee for their consideration and will continue to work closely with Redistricting Chairs Senator William Brownsberger and Representative Mike Moran as they build the final maps. The coalition will release their Unity Map for Massachusetts’ Congressional districts in the coming weeks.


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The Drawing Democracy Coalition brings together Massachusetts’ community organizations, civil rights lawyers, public policy advocates, data and mapping experts, and political scientists, with the shared goal of ensuring that underrepresented communities have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice who best reflect their needs and interests. Steering committee members include the Massachusetts Immigrant Refugee and Advocacy Coalition, the Massachusetts Voter Table, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, Mass VOTE, and Lawyers for Civil Rights.


The Drawing Democracy Fund (DDF) brings together philanthropic partners to support grassroots leaders and organizations promoting a transparent and accountable redistricting process, and empowering communities by creating fair voting districts. DDF will provide financial and technical support to community-based organizations involved in organizing around redistricting. A full list of grantees can be found here.


Terminology


Majority-minority districts: Terminology from the Voting Rights Act that refers to districts with a majority of a racial or linguistic minority population. Drawing Democracy also refers to these as “Majority BIPOC districts”.


BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, People of Color


Coalition districts: Districts where the combined racial minorities make up 50% or more of the citizen voting age population and where the voters from these different racial groups vote together to elect the minority-preferred candidate.


Influence districts: Districts where a racial or ethnic minority group does not make up a majority of voters but does have enough members of the minority group to substantially influence an election or the decisions of an elected representative.


Voting Age Population (VAP): The number of residents who are age 18 or older.

Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP): The number of residents who are eligible to vote because they are age 18 or older and a citizen of the United States.