We soon have the opportunity to increase community voice in Oakland, Sacramento and D.C. – but, if we let the chance pass us by, we could see a loss of representation for those most marginalized. Every 10 years California redraws the district lines for all its legislative and congressional seats. We have just one shot each decade to shape who represents us in Congress and the legislature, and to ensure that there is fair consideration of policy that matters to us. This is our chance to have a real impact for our families, neighborhoods, city, county, and state.
The state redistricting process is led by the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC), an independent group of 14 Californian voters who are not elected or public officials. Redistricting commissions provide an important opening to bring about fair representation so that we may see the day when:
• public policies are responsive to the needs of low-income people of color and designed to create collective success;
• elected officials both represent and are responsive to their residents, especially those in the highest need; and
• district lines are determined by residents to enhance power at the local level and lift the voice of their communities.
Unfortunately, lack of diversity in the CRC’s applicant pool remains a problem. So far, two-thirds of the applicants are white and 3 out of every 5 applicants are male. We are working with our allies at California Calls, the Black Census & Redistricting Hub, and the Redistricting CA Collaborative to make sure California’s diversity and our communities are represented in the process. We cannot allow for politically-motivated manipulation of district lines to weaken the voice of those who have been historically and intentionally left out of the political process. By ensuring community input that reflects California’s diversity, we increase the ability of our communities to have a chance of electing representatives who share a commitment to racial and economic policies that help to change the material conditions for our folks.
The way district lines are drawn affects how politicians represent constituents’ interests. When communities are held together, we have a greater ability to hold politicians accountable. With an independent commission drawing the lines, we increase the likelihood that neighborhoods will be kept intact and reduce the drawing of lines based on the political interest of elected officials.
Redistricting is not new to us. In 2014, Oakland Rising worked with the League of Women Voters to pass Oakland’s Measure DD to create a redistricting commission to draw new district lines for Oakland City Council and School Board seats. For the first time in 2021, a new 13-person independent commission will draw the district maps for these Oakland seats. Prior to the passage of DD, elected officials drew their own districts behind closed doors. Redistricting commissions ensure districts are drawn to serve the interests of voters, rather than current office holders seeking reelection. They also ideally respect neighborhoods and natural geographic boundaries, ensuring communities with shared interests are kept together.
Oakland Rising is committed to ensuring that our working-class, immigrant, and communities of color are fairly represented in the redrawing of districts. If not, gerrymandering and political manipulation of new district lines to protect or change political power could splinter our voices and weaken our political power.
TAKE ACTION: We are looking for potential candidates who represent the Oakland that fights for racial, economic and environmental justice to apply for seats on the Oakland Redistricting Commission. If that is you, contact Strategic Partnerships Director Beth Gunston at (510) 261-2600.
Oakland, CA 94612
Oakland Rising and our collaborative partners are united in our vision for a city that embodies health, happiness, safety, and equal opportunities for all. Our goal is to create a model of progress and sustainability that showcases the possibilities for American cities in the 21st century. We are committed to dismantling the barriers of racial, economic, political, environmental, and educational inequities that have divided us, and instead, embracing the collective strength found in our city’s diversity. We firmly believe that Oakland can achieve its full potential when every resident, student, and bus rider has the ability to shape our city’s future. This vision is attainable and we are determined to realize it through our collective actions, whether it’s through voting, meetings, or call to actions.
Every year, we release a Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform (VIPP) which outlines the annual policies that we and our eight partner organizations prioritize in order to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice in the Town. Our collaborative’s agenda encompasses a range of critical initiatives, from expanding affordable housing to creating a more equitable democracy through campaign finance reforms. These priorities are designed to provide vital protections and innovative solutions for the most vulnerable members of our community. As we continue our efforts to promote these policies, we hold conversations with thousands of voters, lead and co-host impactful town hall meetings, educate and mobilize residents and voters, and undertake various other initiatives.
To gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to resist, protect, and advance in this political moment, we invite you to explore our 2023 Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform. Together, we are making strides towards a more equitable and just Oakland, and we remain steadfast in our pursuit of change, one vote, one meeting, one march at a time.
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Oakland Rising is a project from our hearts for the people of Oakland. Thank you for your contribution!