Multiple social justice and voting rights advocacy groups are planning a two-part public forum to discuss community mapping and redistricting, before the expected redistricting special session later this month, according to a release from Alabama Values.
The Alabama Reapportionment Committee conducted public hearings that concluded Sept. 16. The hearings saw record public attendance compared to all previous decennial hearings. Alabama Governor. Kay Ivey is expected to call the special session on redistricting at the end of October.
The organizing groups behind the upcoming public forms include the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the Ordinary People Society, The League of Women Voters of Alabama, Alabama Forward, and Alabama Values.
“It’s important for all citizens to participate in creating the electoral lines that will govern their future. That requires community members to see and consider multiple maps and hear how their choices could affect their collective power going forward,” said Kathryn Sadasivan, Redistricting Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “This is particularly so in Alabama during the first redistricting cycle the state has undertaken without the protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”
The first public forum, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m, and will feature presentations from redistricting experts, demographers, and community mapmakers, with the goal for the first forum is to achieve a common purpose so that when the State releases its maps, according to Alabama Values.
“We are ready to work together to push for fair maps,” the group said in a statement Monday. “Participants will gain insight concerning constitutionally questionable districting practices, especially in Alabama. Historically these practices include packing of Black and minority voters across the Black Belt and poor urban areas and cracking of Black communities in and around Madison and/or Mobile Counties.”
Alabama State University’s Dr. Regina Moore will serve as the moderator for the event.
“The districts we draw this year will shape our communities for the next decade, however certain politicians in Alabama want to remove community districting from the public domain and conduct the process behind closed doors,” Sailor Jones, communications director for SCSJ, said. “Alabama’s Community Redistricting Mapping Forum will help open up redistricting to all Alabamans and give them the information they need to provide effective and actionable input in favor of the maps they deserve.”
The second public forum is expected to be announced when the proposed redistricting maps from the Alabama State Legislature are released, and will be held concurrently with the special session on redistricting, according to Alabama Values.
“The districts we draw this year will shape our communities for the next decade, however certain politicians in Alabama want to remove community districting from the public domain and conduct the process behind closed doors,” said Sailor Jones, Communications Director for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice Sailor Jones, in a statement Monday. “Alabama’s Community Redistricting Mapping Forum will help open up redistricting to all Alabamans and give them the information they need to provide effective and actionable input in favor of the maps they deserve.”
The first forum will be held via Zoom, with registration open as of Monday.