Multi-racial coalition relieved by latest redistricting map

There was panic last week when “visualization” maps drafted by the Citizens Redistricting Commission had redrawn the 33rd Congressional District lines in such a way that many activists charged it would reduce the political power and representation of communities of color in Congress and the State Legislature. There were accusations of racial segregation, because the proposed map would have cut out key African-American and Latino neighborhoods creating a white majority district. This prompted members of several community organizations to form a multi-racial coalition to present a united front in the battle to keep the 33rd District in its current form. Their efforts paid off.

Former Congresswoman Diane Watson speaks during multi-racial coaltion press conference.

Leaders from several community organizations, including S.C.O.P.E., Community Coalition, the Korean Resource Center and former Congresswoman Diane Watson, gathered in front of the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) High School this morning to celebrate the Redistricting Commission’s vote last night to keep District 33 almost intact.

“Latinos, Whites, Asian Pacific-Americans, and African-Americans have worked together for over a generation to elect progressive leaders who meet our needs,” said Gloria Walton, Executive Director of S.C.O.P.E. “”The Commission talked honestly about race yesterday, and they did the right thing to keep us together.”

“Together” is a key word for the coalition. As S.C.O.P.E. Senior Organizer Manuel Hernandez points out, “all the communities of color working together, staying on top of the issue, making sure our voices are heard and being vigilant until the final vote was cast, made a difference.”

Current 33rd Congressional District map

The current make up of California’s 33rd Congressional District is 34.6 percent Hispanic, 29.9 percent African-American, 19.9 percent White and 12.1 percent Asian. Democrat Karen Bass is the area’s Representative. She wasn’t at today’s event, but retired Congresswoman Diane Watson, who represented the District until January of this year was present, emphasizing the importance of unity and of tolerance “in a nation of immigrants.”

According to S.C.O.P.E., the lines will be slightly shifted to the West and the Northeastern area of Los Feliz will no longer be part of District 33.

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