Colorado’s Black Caucus has big concerns about redistricting maps – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2021-07-23 08:18:27 –

Recently, a preliminary constituency change map was released for the Colorado State Capitol and the Senate. These maps are guaranteed to change over time, but the approach used to draw new lines is very cumbersome.

In many of the new districts, color communities have fallen apart and voting power has declined for no identifiable reason other than arbitrary road-based divisions that have no meaning to voters.

For example, the current House District 8 has been split into the center of the new map, separating the historic Five Point district from North Park Hill. Both the new districts, House Districts 4 and 6, have a lower proportion of black populations, effectively diminishing voting power, and making it more difficult to get a black representative in the Legislature.

House District 8 has historical importance to Colorado. The first black representative came out of the district. Its representative has made major advances in the state in civil rights, from formal approval by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to police reform.

Similarly, the Aurora House and Senate lines have been restructured in a way that reduces the chances of black members being elected to the Colorado General Assembly. In El Paso County, the African-American population is divided between four House districts and three Senate districts.

According to Colorado Sun, constituency change committee lawyer Jeremiah Barry was drawn with the knowledge that the map would weaken the voting rights of the minority and reduce the majority of Hispanic houses from seven to three. Was admitted.

The process of dividing the minority community into separate districts, a tactic known as “cracking” during Gerrymandering’s attempts, has long been used to prevent proper representation from minorities in legislative bodies across the country. A strong justification is needed to dramatically redraw Colorado’s current district, rather than expanding or contracting its current borders based on population changes. What is missing here.

Prejudice is still widespread, as reported in this last session. The Black Presidium as an entity is a multi-generational group that spans age and experience, from members who lived in Jim Crow’s time to members born in New Jim Crow’s time. Our voice is an important voice for freedom. Seeing it dilute is an insult to centuries of effort and activism, not only to see and hear, but to stand at the table in determining the fate of our community.

These “starting point” maps need to be destroyed, and the Commission must start with the current Colorado House and Senate lines previously approved by the Colorado Supreme Court. There is no reason to drastically reduce the voting rights of blacks and other minorities.

Leslie Herod represents Colorado House District 8 and chairs the Colorado Black Legislative Caucus. Jennifer Bacon represents Colorado House District 7 and is a voting lawyer.

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