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For Immediate Release: February 1, 2012 Contact: Fairredistrictingcaucusofcolor@gmail.com For Rev. Al Sharpton Rachel Noerdlinger 646-981-5903 | rachel@noerdlingermedia.

com

NYC Community Leaders Unite in Opposition to Republicans Politically-Charged Redistricting Maps


Newly-formed Fair Redistricting Caucus of Color & citizens call for veto, blast most gerrymandered lines in NYS history (New York, NY) Reverend Al. Sharpton of the National Action Network and Hazel Dukes of the NAACP, along with various community leaders from across New York, held a rally on the steps of City Hall in New York City blasting State Senate Republicans for dividing and disenfranchising minority communities. They called for Governor Cuomo to veto any redistricting product issued by the State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR.) The participants in the rally made clear that the entire redistricting process is broken and all lines must be drawn by the courts. They stated that a constitutional amendment that pushes the process back another 10 years is not an acceptable compromise. The leaders said that until there is a truly independent process, the citizens of New York will be manipulated, and the constitution abused, by politicians motivated by personal and political interests instead of the people they promised to represent. Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network said, Redistricting is a major civil rights issue. For decades, Albany politicians have chosen their allies and political power over the needs and interests of the people. Our communities of color have repeatedly been disenfranchised and divided to weaken our voice, but this year we will not be silenced. Our voices will be heard from City Hall, ringing through the Hudson Valley, out to Buffalo, Rochester, and into the halls of the Capitol and when Gov. Cuomo hears us, he must take action to protect our communities. Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, President, NAACP New York State Conference, said, The voting rights of minority communities across the state are once again under attack by power-hungry politicians. Every time new maps are drawn they find ways to split up minority populations so that we cannot elect the representatives who best represent who we are whether we are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Jewish. The politically-driven process has poisoned the water. Washing the lines with that same water will not produce the fair, equal, truly representative lines we need. Reform the process, get better results, and give government back to New Yorkers. Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus said, Party politics have watered down the needs, interests and voices of

communities of color for far too long. Since the GOP maps were made public theyve been described in many ways illegal, unconstitutional, gerrymandered, disenfranchising however, our communities need lines that will be characterized as fair, equal, representative, democratic. The Republicans attack on democracy cannot stand. We can put an end to this, now. If we wait, our voices will again be divided and disenfranchised by the political elite. We must stand strongly with our Governor and his promise to veto the GOPs blatant disregard for New Yorkers and our state constitution. Esmeralda Simmons, Founder and Executive Director, The Center for Law and Social Justice of Medgar Evers College, said, The Center for Law and Social Justice is extremely disappointed in both the process and the product of this New York State redistricting round. LATFOR has been a closed door and completely secret operation. The process has been dragged out to the point that redistricting is almost impossible to be completed on time. The public has been given no explanation as to why the districts have been drawn in the way they have. The entire process is a hoax and a tremendous waste of tax dollars and community resources. Rev. Dr. W. Darin Moore, President, United Black Clergy of Westchester County, said, It is outrageous that elected officials in the State Legislature have been given free rein to handpick the voters they represent once again preventing we, the voters, from deciding who speaks for us. Our community is being disenfranchised. Fernando Rodriguez, President, Latin and African American Chaplains Association, reiterated that, It is clear that the Legislature cannot be trusted be to protect our rights. They continue to disenfranchise communities of color throughout this state. We implore the Governor to stand up for our rights. Rev. Dr. Robert Waterman, President, African-American Clergy & Election Officials, said, Its been almost 49 years since Martin Luther King Jr. led the march on Washington and we are still fighting for proper voting rights. Politicians have totally and completely decimated one person, one vote with the proposed map. Minorities in New York State have been continuously trampled and undermined by power politics. The entire proposal belongs in the trash and we need the appointment of a Special Master to protect the rights of minorities whom constitute 41% of New Yorks population. Ana Maria Archila. Co-Executive Director of Make the Road NY, stated, New Yorkers deserve better than another decade of disenfranchisement at the hands of elected officials who are quick to draw district lines to keep themselves and their party in power, and sacrifice the political empowerment of entire communities. Latino and African-American New Yorkers will not stand silent as our voting power is diluted once again." The leaders called for enacting fair district lines for this upcoming election and ask that all districts created this year employ criteria that was outlined in Governor Cuomos legislation.

This criteria requires:

The most and least populous senate and assembly districts shall not exceed the mean population of districts for each house by more than one percent; Counties and county subdivisions shall not be divided in the formation of districts; Villages and communities shall not be divided; Districts shall be as compact as possible; and Districts shall unite communities of interest. ###