WHAT IS REDISTRICTING?
Redistricting happens after the United States Census is completed. It is the process of literally reapportioning or redrawing districts of governance as mandated in our United States Constitution.
Under the Constitution, states are required to reapportion or redraw their Congressional districts every 10 years. However, some states observe additional redistricting cycles that extend beyond Congressional districts – some states also redraw local and state elected districts too.
Just like the Census, Redistricting is done every 10 years.
Redistricting is equally complex, multilayered, and demanding of the public’s time and attention in major decisions that – if made in haste or carelessly – could result in serious funding losses, disenfranchisement, and an imbalance to our country’s democratic systems.
In short, Redistricting is what happens after we have collected and made sense of the Census data. The Census primarily seeks to do 2 things: Discover where we live and how many of us live in America. (Along the way the Census Bureau developed more demographic questions around race, ethnicity, gender, income, educational attainment, veteran status, etc. to deepen our collective numerical and categorical understanding of Americans.) However, the Census primarily seeks to answer two main things: where we live and how many of us live in the country. The first United States Census was administered in 1790 – and yes, other countries across the globe administer their own census counts. Think of the Census as America’s 10-year assessment of measuring how its people are doing educationally, financially, geographically and etc. Remember, Census counts are done every 10 years.
COMMUNITY OF INTEREST (COI) MAPS
Community of Interest (COI) Maps will be integral to the involvement of communities in the months-long comprehensive Redistricting process in California (and the country). Communities of Interest (COIs) can be defined in multiple, different ways. Generally, COIs are communities that are bound by shared affinities to business corridors or structures, parks and landmarks, religious communities, or certain geographic markers of importance – e.g., proximity to water containers or agricultural land.
The state of California not only redraws its Congressional districts every 10 years, it also engages in a series of reapportionment activities at all levels of government.
The drafting of new “maps” is an arduous process that is undertaken through a statewide “Citizens Redistricting Commission” of appointed members. Similarly, cities and counties across California appoint Redistricting Commissions to conduct town halls to gather community input and begin the months-long process of redrawing and presenting new maps. Remember, these maps will be implemented for a 10 year period! These decisions and considerations must not be done in haste or with disinterest.
FILAM COMMUNITY OF INTEREST
From July-October 2021, L.E.A.D Filipino will work to gather Community of Interest (COI) statements directly from Santa Clara County and San Jose-based FilAm communities. These outreach activities will include leading community discussions, presenting to the FilAm Chamber of Commerce and civic groups, colleges and universities, and faith-based congregations to better understand specific areas/landmarks in San Jose of a deep community interest to FilAms.
COIs are integrated into the redrawing of new districts through the Redistricting process. Bringing FilAms into these policy conversations and representing the community’s voice in these hearings will be critical to our visibility, representation, and agency.