Chinatown community members are encouraged to participate.
Massachusetts will be redrawing its electoral maps at the local, state, and national level this year, based on Census data released in 2020. The state created its first majority minority Congressional district, currently represented by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and this district includes Boston’s Chinatown. 2021 marks a pivotal moment, when members of the public will have an opportunity to redraw the maps in such a way that people who have been historically underrepresented in government can achieve equitable representation. This group includes people of color and immigrants.
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition has been working with the Drawing Democracy Coalition, a group that “brings together Massachusetts’ community organizations, civil rights lawyers, public policy advocates, data and mapping experts, and political scientists, with the shared goal of ensuring that underrepresented communities have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice who best reflect their needs and interests,” according to a press release. They are trying to make sure members of the community are engaged in the redistricting process. Together, the groups have urged the public to be involved by sharing what locations, landmarks, and gathering places are important to keep together. On July 12, the Redistricting Committee will be holding a public hearing for the 7th Congressional District.
“The Drawing Democracy Coalition plans to work with the legislature to ensure authentic representation of communities of color, immigrants, and low-income people. We will work with grassroots organizations across our Commonwealth to ensure that every community is heard in the redistricting process,” said Beth Huang, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table, in a press release. “Redistricting is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to forge a more reflective and equitable democracy.”
Community members, especially those connected to Chinatown, are encouraged to participate at the virtual hearing: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3808
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.