(Oakland, California) – In a continuation of its push for equitable political districts in Oakland, Oakland Rising, a collaborative of nine community organizations representing thousands of BIPOC and working-class residents of Oakland, today called for the Independent Oakland Redistricting Commission to only approve Map F3 if numerous changes are adopted to better reflect the priorities of flatlands communities.
“Whether we are Black, Brown, or white, from a rich neighborhood or a poor neighborhood, nearly all of us in Oakland believe that every voice deserves equal representation. The best chance to do that is by empowering flatlands communities to have independent districts that allow all residents to have a voice on the City Council and School Board. Our government and systems have always catered to the most resourced and connected residents, because of their ability to get access to decision makers. But by establishing a district in which these interests can be centralized, we’ll ensure that each voice is heard clearly, and avoid breaking up the political voices of working-class communities of color. That is why we have to make key changes to Map F3 to strengthen the voices of Black, Latinx, and API residents, for the benefit of all Oaklanders.” – liz suk, Executive Director of Oakland Rising
The Oakland’s Independent Redistricting Commission failed to meet the legal deadline of December 30, 2021 to finalize the new district lines. The deadline is now extended to mid-April to land on a final redistricting map which includes two weeks for final community input. The commission is working to complete the process by mid-February. At the December 30th Commission meeting, the vote was split 7 – 6 between maps F3 and K3, and at the last meeting on January 5th, the Commission decided to move forward with a modified version of Map F3 that will also adopt elements from Map K3.
Although the Oakland Rising collaborative advocated to pass Map K3, which stood apart by establishing a council and school board district that encapsulated the wealthy Oakland hills, the Commission passed a modified version of Map F3, which is more similar to the city’s current district lines. Map F3 and the current district lines do not align with the priorities of Oakland residents in the flatlands and can cause dilution of the diverse political voices in the city. Under current districting, hills residents have an outsized influence on four different districts, with elected officials often compelled to be more responsive to their wealthiest and best resourced residents. Because Map K3 with its hills-only district did not pass, it will be difficult to ensure residents throughout the flatlands have fair opportunities for representation and access to resources unless the Commission makes changes to Map F3 to avoid diluting the voices of flatland, working-class, and BIPOC residents.
The commission is Oakland’s first citizens’ redistricting commission, a change made possible by the passage of Measure DD in 2014, which ensures that elected officials do not participate in the city’s redistricting process.
Oakland Rising remains committed to advancing the interests, values, and needs of working-class communities of Oakland throughout the city and Alameda County. Oakland Rising held numerous virtual independent town halls in 2021-22 to educate and mobilize the flatlands community around the redistricting process, timeline, and submitting maps for review.
The Oakland Rising collaborative includes Asian Pacific Islander Environmental Network, Bend the Arc, Causa Justa Just Cause, Communities United for Restorative Justice, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Mujeres Unidas Y Activas, Parent Voices Oakland, and St. Mary’s Center.