September 18, 2021

The Jackson Blazer

A voice for the community

REDISTRICTING. What is it. Why it matters.

REDISTRICTING

What is it. Why it matters.

What is it. Every 10 years, every state redraws all of its district election maps. For MI, that’s 110
MI House district maps, 38 MI Senate district maps, and 13 U.S. Congressional district maps.
Once these are drawn, you elect your MI House, MI Senate and U.S. Congressional
representatives based on which district you live in. If more of us who share a culture or history
live in the same district, we will have more votes and we will be more able to elect a
representative who speaks for us. For that to happen, though, districts have to be drawn so
that we are kept together, drawn so that they don’t split our communities up.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) is drawing up the new
district maps this year, which will not change for the next 10 years. And by law, Communities of
Interest (African Americans, Arab Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and
others) have a right to demand that the MICRC not split us up when drawing the maps. But it is
going to be up to us to go to the MICRC Public Hearings and tell the Commission about
ourselves, and draw maps of our community, of where we live, and send them in.
What’s at stake. At stake is our community’s voice with the MI Legislature in Lansing, and with
the Federal Government in Washington DC. It is about our ability to elect someone from our
community, or elect someone who listens to our issues and concerns. What’s at stake is our
community’s access to State and Federal resources such as funding for local schools, ESL, kids at
risk, small business development, environmental pollution, insurance, Medicaid, mental health
funding, MI Child, Meals on Wheels, senior care and many many other laws, resources and
services that can help our communities. And for the next 10 years.
So go to any of the Public Hearings across MI, and tell the MICRC Commissioners about your
community, about where you live, and demand to be kept together. This is the time for our
voices to be heard, for our communities to be respected, and for our democracy to work for us.

Hayg Oshagan
Dir. Of New MI Media
Wayne State Univ. prof.