District Commissioners seek input from African American community – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry
The redistribution will bring changes to southern Los Angeles, an area where many African Americans reside, and the adjustment could affect the collective power of the black community.
The LA City Charter requires that every 10 years after the Decennial Census of the United States, city council district boundaries be redrawn so that each district is largely equal in population. The charter also establishes a 21-member commission to recommend a redistribution plan to city council that defines the boundaries of each council district.
Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Reverend Eddie Anderson and Valerie Lynne Shaw have been appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council Member Mark Ridley-Thomas and Council Member Marqueece Harris Dawson, respectively, as District Commissioners for City Council from Los Angeles who are the only African Americans on the board. .
While they will vote with their fellow Commissioners on the entire redistribution plan, the three are particularly focused on persuading the Black Angelenos to share ideas, desires, stories and experiences that impact and define their neighborhoods. . The goal, they said, is to ensure inclusive representation, secure necessary assets and maintain a strong community.
“Why is redistribution important, especially for African Americans? It’s really about power and how we’re going to exercise our power and access resources, ”said Shaw, member of the California Community College System board of governors and past president, vice president and commissioner of the works council. LA audiences.
“During the [Mayor Tom] In Bradley’s day, about 40 years ago, we were 20% of the population and now we are about 7%. We have also seen a decline in our communities, demographic changes, the decline of our civic and professional groups, and the demise of some of our nonprofits, ”she noted.
“These are all called mediation structures – structures that exemplify the life of the black community. Now we are planning to change and reorganize our municipal districts – our neighborhoods – and it is important to look at this process in order to make black people more accountable. “
Anderson, who is senior pastor of McCarthy Memorial Christian Church and describes himself as a “millennial who works with Black Lives Matter and other organizations concerned with the future of black people,” urged African Americans to consider the concept of redistribution as an investment in communities.
“When we talk about investment, we are talking about how to get more parks, more public space, how can we [get] our routes set in our neighborhoods. All of this will be the by-product of the redistribution – even who is our representative and do they ultimately have your needs at heart, ”he insisted.
“So for the black community, especially in South LA and throughout LA County, it’s important for us to really engage them and make sure our voices are heard and draw, with our moral imaginations. , for the next 10 years. Anderson said.
Further emphasizing the importance of the contribution of African Americans, Bremond-Weaver, President / CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade, urged black people to attend and speak out at the Commission’s public hearings. In addition to census data, the commissioners’ redistribution recommendations will be greatly influenced by feedback from local residents and people with a stake in running their neighborhood, she said.
“If you care about your community, if you want your community to change, if you want resources in your community, then you have to be part of the process. We all need to be accountable to the communities we care about and love. For me, these are council districts 8, 9 and 10, where we have three amazing black elected officials who represent our community. If we don’t get feedback from our own community, those lines might be different, ”she said.
“Black voices need to be heard in this process and we need to be unabashed about what we want for our community. If we don’t push that narrative, if we don’t come forward to tell our stories of why our community should be like this, then shame on us, ”said Bremond-Weaver.
In addition to testifying at public hearings, residents will be able to communicate their vision of their community using a mapping tool on the City Council’s Redistribution website. According to Robert Battles, the Commission’s associate director of community outreach and engagement, the tool will allow site visitors to create a visual presentation that reflects their image of their community and what they would like it to look like. to come up. The tool, which will be launched soon, will include a tutorial.
The public can also share comments at the meetings that the Commission is currently holding for each district of the council through Zoom. Individuals or representatives of neighborhood organizations can participate either virtually or by telephone.
Hoping to inspire the involvement of African Americans in the redistribution process, Anderson said, “Your voice is very important. Tell us your story and show us. It is fairness. These are our civil rights for 2021! “
Bremond-Weaver said, “Your voice matters, resources matter in our community and who represents us locally. If you care about keeping our entire community and all that makes it as beautiful as it is, your voice should be heard.
Shaw said candidly, “If you can intend to live in Los Angeles as we move forward, it will be crucial that you understand how city government works, that you understand the power structure of your district and neighborhood. .
“This process will allow the average citizen to understand both of these things, because as we lose population, if we don’t speak up, we lose power.
To learn more about the Los Angeles City Council Redistribution Commission, visit https://laccrc2021.org/
Editor-in-Chief Brandon I. Brooks contributed to this report.