September 13, 2011
Commissioners Include Several Majority-Minority Districts in Proposals
The Washington State Redistricting Commission today released maps that clearly reflected the voice of immigrant communities and communities of color. Three out of four Commissioners—one Democrat and two Republicans—included a majority-minority Congressional District. Commissioner Ceis also proposed five majority-minority state legislative districts including a majority Latino district in Yakima county.
OneAmerica, along with United for Fair Representation, created Unity Maps and turned out hundreds of immigrants and people of color through the public process to testify at nearly every single redistricting hearing. The maps appeared to directly respond, in differing degrees, to the reality that people of color now represent 1 out of 4 Washington residents and that the increase in immigrants helped deliver Washington a new congressional district. OneAmerica will continue to work actively to ensure that our communities of interest are represented and that the issues that unite them are fully recognized by legislators and reflected in our Congressional and legislative maps.
The following is a statement from OneAmerica Executive Director Pramila Jayapal:
"We are proud of turning out hundreds of OneAmerica members who care deeply about the future of their families and their communities to speak about their issues, priorities and how our democracy can better reflect their active participation. Although our members have many times felt disenfranchised and forgotten, this was an important moment and process to show our belief in speaking out, organizing and ensuring that the voices of immigrants are heard in what can sometimes feel like a distant and arcane political process.
There is no better evidence that people’s voices matter than in seeing that Commissioners Ceis, Huff and Gorton agreed with us that a majority-minority Congressional District must exist. At the state legislative level, we appreciate the work of Commissioner Ceis who has proposed five state legislative districts, including recognizing the essential and growing voice of the Latino population in Yakima County.
We appreciate the difficult work done by the Commissioners and thank those who are giving their time and expertise to such an important process. We will be continuing to fight for the voices and interests of all of our communities to be represented. The disparities that exist in education, health, income and many other areas show that immigrant communities and communities of color must be addressed in a new and positive way. Our proposals for majority-minority districts are about bringing solutions to our entire community, bringing people together so that their issues may be addressed with singular focus, and ensuring that democracy is about everyone.
We look forward to continuing our work with the Redistricting Commission and the State Legislature and, together, making history in Washington state with fair and representative state and Congressional districts."
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Charlie McAteer, OneAmerica Communications Director, 206-452-8402, firstname.lastname@example.org
OneAmerica, formerly Hate Free Zone, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances the fundamental principles of democracy and justice by building power within immigrant communities.