Long Island forum offers opportunity to weigh in on redistricting

Yesterday we linked to a column in Queens Latino, in which Carlos Vélez urged Latinos to make their political voices heard. Today, our friends at Long Island Wins sent us a tip about a concrete way for Latinos — and other groups — to get involved in a fundamental part of the political process, redistricting. Long Island Wins, along with several other advocacy organizations, will host a forum on the state’s ongoing redistricting process on Feb. 6.

As Long Island Wins online editor Ted Hesson wrote on The Huffington Post:

In the past, civil rights groups have criticized the redistricting process for working against immigrant and African-American communities on Long Island, and while lawsuits have sought to address the problem on a case-by-case basis, electoral representation in communities of color will be a pressing issue in the coming weeks.

Long Island Wins also ran a column by Luis Valenzuela, the executive director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, urging Latinos in particular to get involved in redistricting:

Last week, New York’s Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) issued proposed new maps that appear to promise more of the same. In Suffolk County, for example, while Latinos account for virtually all of the population growth in the last ten years, the new proposed maps do not give any additional weight to these communities. So the prospects of electing more state officials who are sensitive to the needs of the Latino community remain bleak.

We cannot sit idly by while this process unfolds. Instead, we must educate ourselves so that we are prepared to take action to demand maps that reflect the growing Latino population and grant us the political power warranted by these increased numbers.

Here’s the information about the Feb. 6 forum:

What: Making Our Votes Count: Redistricting and Its Impact on Long Island Communities of Color

When: February 6, at 6:30pm

Where: 1090 Suffolk Avenue, Brentwood

Who: Common Cause NY, NAACP, LatinoJustice (invited), and the Long Island Immigrant Alliance

Hosted by Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Wins, and Noticia

Participating organizations: Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, CARECEN, and more.

Daniel Altschuler, daniel.altschuler@maketheroadny.org

And to get you up to speed on the issue, here are the two proposed redistricting maps for Long Island released last week:

New York State Senate

New York State Assembly

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