Redistricting

Redistricting

Every ten years, the boundaries of electoral districts are redrawn to reflect population shifts recorded by the Census. The boundaries of each district are important; if neighborhoods are split up between districts, electing representatives that can advocate for the needs of these communities becomes much more difficult.

During the 2010-2011 redistricting cycle, New York State’s legislature drew district lines that largely supported the re-election of incumbents, instead of representing whole communities. In response, CLSJ challenged the New York State’s redistricting plans as being geographically discriminatory against Blacks and Latinos and fought for the creation of the bipartisan New York State Independent Redistricting Commission (NYSIRC). During the current redistricting cycle, NYSIRC will host a series of hearings across the state to learn more about New York’s communities of interest and inform the drawing of new electoral district maps.

To spur participation in the hearings, CLSJ has reconvened the Black New Yorkers for Fair Redistricting Coalition, an amalgam of individuals and non-profit organizations who will testify about their communities of interest and advocate for equitably drawn districts. Based on Census research and the information gleaned from the hearings, the NYSIRC will submit maps to the New York State Legislature for the adoption of new electoral district lines that will be in place until the 2030 Census.

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“Unity” Redistricting Maps

The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) is a founding member of the New York Voting Rights Consortium, a coalition of leading local and national voting rights organizations advocating for the protection of voters of color in the New York metropolitan area. Together with coalition partners LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), CLSJ unveiled its proposed redistricting plan for New York City.

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People of African Descent in New York City

The Center for Law and Social Justice People of African Descent in NYC: Communities of Interest report identifies where people of African descent are located throughout New York City. It specifies increases, declines, population shifts, swaps, and where there appears to be some growth of population of people of African descent in non-traditional NYC neighborhoods. (New York City remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the USA.)

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Draw Fair Maps | Build Electoral Power

New Yorkers of African Descent for Fair Redistricting is a coalition convened by the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College CUNY. It is composed of organizations and individuals who are fighting for fair districts in New York City that will ensure people of African descent have equitable representation and political power.

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Civic Engagement

Advocacy Academy

The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College (CLSJ) is launching an eleven-week Civic Engagement virtual course that will train participants on how to implement programs, services and other changes they want to see in their communities.

Targeted to Black New Yorkers aged 18 and up, the course will train registrants in a number of areas including issue organizing, roles and duties of elected officials and government agencies, and techniques and strategies for influencing policy and funding. Celeste Morris, CEO of MorrisAllsop Inc., an effective communicator with extensive leadership experience, will lead the course. The Spring 2022 Cohort launches on Tuesday April 19, 2022. See the link below for more details and registration information!

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Census

Each year, the federal government uses census count data to determine how to spend nearly $800 billion dollars for services that communities rely on.

 Your community’s census count data determines how much you will receive for services like SNAP/WIC, healthy food programs, nurses, doctors, health benefits, affordable and emergency housing, teachers, bus and train lines, transportation infrastructure, senior services, infants and youth services, climate, emergency care, and more. It also determines how many elected officials will be assigned to your district.

 Communities that are under-counted do not get their fair share of these resources. Historically, communities of African descent are undercounted. This has a devastating impact on our community’s ability to meet its needs. 

To prevent an undercount despite the worldwide COVID19 pandemic, CLSJ collaborated with a host of like-minded organizations and trained a team of our own Street Team Educators who met people at train stations, food pantries, street fairs and anywhere safe and practical to explain the importance of the Census and to help them file.  CLSJ also convened the NYC Black Leadership Advisory Coalition for Census 2020 to ensure Black New Yorkers had an advocacy vehicle to ensure Black communities understood and participated in the census count. Though New York will lose one Congressional seat, New York City was able to avoid a catastrophic drop in census participation, thanks in large part to Black New Yorkers.

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Cultural Rights

Cultural Rights

The CLSJ Cultural Rights Project advocates for the protection of the cultural rights of people of African descent in New York. This project seeks to raise the banner of human rights protection in the US and ensure that the cultural rights of vulnerable populations are respected. This project centers on work in collaboration with cultural organizations that are focused on the retention and preservation of Pan-African culture.

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