Press Release: 2021-11-02
Drawing Democracy Criticizes Proposed Congressional Map for Failing to Unite Fall River and New Bedford
Drawing Democracy Criticizes Proposed Congressional Map for Failing to Unite Fall River and New Bedford:
Coalition advocated for uniting immigrant communities of Fall River and New Bedford into Ninth District
November 1, 2021
BOSTON – The Drawing Democracy Coalition is today criticizing the Congressional map proposed by the Redistricting Committee Co-Chairs for failing to combine Fall River and New Bedford into the same district. In response to significant feedback from community members and community organizations, the Coalition’s Unity Map proposed uniting Fall River and New Bedford in the Ninth Congressional District, thereby uniting the similar immigrant communities in the two cities and providing better opportunity for them to elect candidates of their choice.
While the map proposed by the legislature today fulfills the Coalition’s request to unite Fall River, it puts the entire city in the Fourth District and keeps New Bedford in the Ninth. As such, voters in Fall River might continue to see their voting power weakened by wealthier suburbs of Boston, like Brookline, Newton and Wellesley.
“The Coalition for Social Justice and Drawing Democracy spoke with many community members about redistricting, and we heard loud and clear that they didn’t want Fall River to be split between two Congressional Districts, and that they wanted Fall River and New Bedford to be united in the same district,” said Dax Crocker, Democracy HUB Coordinator for the Coalition for Social Justice, a Drawing Democracy Coalition Steering Committee member. “While we’re glad that the Redistricting Committee’s proposed map makes Fall River whole, it also misses a critical opportunity to better ensure that the immigrant, working-class communities of Fall River and New Bedford are united and empowered politically to elect candidates of their choice. We are incredibly disappointed that the legislature did not listen to the voices of the people of Fall River and New Bedford, and we urge them to reconsider.”
The public comment period for the Congressional map will run through Tuesday, November 9th. Comments can be submitted through the Redistricting Committee’s website. A public hearing on the map will be held on Tuesday, November 9th. The Drawing Democracy Coalition urges community members to make their voices heard through the public comment period and public hearing.
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, MassVOTE, 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.