Detroiters urged to weigh in on helping end gerrymandering

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Organizers have met with neighborhood associations and local groups, wanting Detroiters to get involved. (Shutterstock photo)

Two meetings may help ensure that Detroiters have fair political representation — if residents show up and speak out today and Thursday.

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Three years after voters approved the creation of an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to curb gerrymandering by drawing fair district boundaries, the 11-member commission will sit for two public hearings in Detroit. 

Local nonprofits who have provided information and outreach about the commission since February say they expect large crowds in Detroit.

The hearings are part of a 15-part state tour to consider residents’ needs and desires regarding the drawing of new congressional district boundaries. The Commission, which is representative of voters across the state, is charged with redrawing the state’s congressional district map. The first draft is expected by the end of the month, with revisions and more public meetings later this summer.

The two Detroit meetings will be held Tuesday, June 15, at The Village Dome at Fellowship Chapel at 5 p.m., and on Thursday, June 17 at the TCF Center at 5 p.m.

Residents may attend in-person or virtually on the Secretary of State’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Whether attending in-person or virtually, all are encouraged to register to attend. Detroiters can also submit public comment through the virtual registration process.  

Michiganders have been encouraged to create Communities of Interest, or COIs, of people who have common interests to inform the map-drawing process and ensure that groups of people or interests are not excluded.

Norman Clement, of the Detroit Change Initiative, has met with Detroiters since February to encourage residents to get involved and speak up. His organization has met with neighborhood associations, local groups and individuals — and many are interested, he says.

Clement says he has faith that the process will be fair and the maps will be drawn accurately, if Detroiters show up next week.

“Watching the board meeting, participating in meetings, and talking to the (commission) members, I can say this is actually a great bipartisan group,” Clement said. “I think a lot of their interests are only drawing maps that are fair, and that is really refreshing.”

Detroit Change Initiative is just one of several nonprofits conducting outreach to Detroiters. Organizations have reported education, access to jobs, and pollution have been top of mind for Detroiters. However, the biggest issue so far is representation.

Rima Merouh, a director at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, said representation is a critical issue. After the decennial census lacked a Middle Eastern or North African identity option, Merouh said some Detroiters want to ensure they are included so that their communities receive proper government funding and support. 

One thought on “Detroiters urged to weigh in on helping end gerrymandering

  1. Ebenezer Community and Cultural Center is looking for information on how to share information regarding our organization through Bridge Detroit. I am Edna Walker, the Exec Director and I can be reached at (313) 622-4873.

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