Yancey and New Democracy Coalition Redistricting Press Conference

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Oct 24, 2012 No Comments ›› The Commisioner

Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey and the New Democracy Coalition held a redistricting press conference on October 24, 2012 at Boston City Hall, which was attended by clergy, community activists, and Mattapan residents.

While Yancey’s redistricting map aims to re-unite Mattapan and establish five districts of Color by uniting the predominately Asian community of Chinatown with the predominately Latino community of East Boston, all of the other redistricting plans remove Mattapan from District Four and fail to create a fifth District of Color in Boston.

Kevin Peterson, executive director of the New Democracy Coalition, called the action of Councillor Yancey’s colleagues appalling. “It is appalling that given the level of diversity in this city now that the majority of Councillor Yancey’s colleagues refuse to answer the question around why can’t there be another majority minority seat,” he said.

The 2010 Census shows that Boston’s population is comprised of 53 percent people of color.

Peterson, who was a leading force in the statewide redistricting battle that increased the number of state house districts for communities of Color by 100 percent, called actions of the NAACP Boston Branch, the Chinese Progressive Association, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights uncharacteristic and regressive for not supporting the establishment of 5 Districts of Color. Peterson invited those groups to reconsider Councillor Yancey’s map and called intentions to break up Mattapan and maintain only 4 Districts of Color a violation of the Voting Rights Act. “We’re prepared to take legal action around this issue,” he said.

Reverend Zenetta Armstrong of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan asked the Boston City Council to provide an opportunity for community residents to provide feedback about the redistricting process. “It will help us to feel like we are valuable citizens of Boston. We have been isolated and alienated by the institutional power of the city,” she said.

UMass/Boston professor, Carroy Ferguson, said the redistricting process is census driven and should not be used to disenfranchise People of Color. Ferguson, who grew up in the south, said he knows what it means not to have a voice. Ferguson, whose areas of expertise include race relations, social justice, and multicultural dynamics, said Yancey’s map strongly supports the approach envisioned in the Constitution of the United States of America.

Yancey noted that the most significant change proposed in his map has to do with increasing the possibility that an Asian or a Latino can win a seat on the Boston City Council, by uniting the predominately Asian community of Chinatown with the predominately Latino community of East Boston.

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