By Community Alliance staff
On Dec. 4, hundreds marched in Fresno demanding that Boards of Supervisors in Central Valley counties listen to the people regarding new district boundaries. Redistricting is a process that takes place every 10 years following the release of Census data.
The march started at Arte Américas and ended at Courthouse Park. It was led by legendary activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta.
At Courthouse Park, several speakers spoke about maintaining unity and confronting the conservative-led supervisorial boards in the eight Central Valley counties.
“They have to listen to us; we need better representation on the Board of Supervisors,” said the 91-year-old Huerta. “If they don’t listen, we’ll take them to court.”
In each of the eight Central Valley counties, there are four White supervisors and one person of color. Yet the Census data show that six of those counties are majority Latino and the other two have a Latino plurality.
In Fresno County, the Board of Supervisors approved a status quo map that made minor changes from the districts that have been in place for decades. Furthermore, the supervisors ignored months of community input and two community-driven map proposals.
Huerta said that the supervisors neglect people of color and low-income communities by depriving them of the opportunity to elect representatives who care about them.
The Fair Maps Act (Fair and Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions) calls for public participation in the map-making process as one way to combat gerrymandering, where boundaries have been manipulated to favor one political party or group, which according to Huerta is what supervisors throughout the Valley are trying to do.
In short, supervisors want to maintain existing boundaries to preserve their power dynamic.
All photos by Peter Maiden