Categories
Press Release Redistricting

Release: Multiracial group speaks on housing, healthcare

Multiracial group of Orange County residents speak on housing, healthcare at redistricting hearing

Orange County residents dialed in to the first online-only hearing of California’s independent redistricting commission for the region on July 8. Many callers were Latino and Asian residents speaking out on the region’s housing and health crisis.

Callers were affiliated with organizations working for decades in the region for environmental justice, civic engagement, immigrant rights and workers’ rights. The organizations came together as the People’s Redistricting Alliance, and meets regularly in Orange County with members to jointly discuss redistricting and engagement. Groups decided to work together after uphill fights on local policy efforts to improve the lives of communities in need.

“Redistricting should improve the lives of those most in need, not work against them,” said Mary Anne Foo, executive director of the non-profit Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, known in the community as OCAPICA.

Nail salon workers throughout the state are predominantly Vietnamese American, and many come from refugee backgrounds. Manicurists “have often been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees and are therefore denied critical protections such as sick time, workers’ comp, and breaks,” shared Caroline Nguyen, resident of Garden Grove and program assistant at the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. Nguyen noted that when the COVID-19 relief package was implemented in March of 2020, “(those who) were misclassified as 1099 workers instead of W2 employees were not eligible for unemployment insurance. It wasn’t until a second relief package was introduced a few months later that they gained access to these benefits.”

Image: Nguyen testifies at the California Citizens Redistricting Commission Zone J (Orange County) Public Meeting on July 8.

Low-income communities of color in Fullerton, Anaheim, and Santa Ana are “impacted by soil lead levels, sometimes exceeding 50x the recommended limit, ignored when voicing their concerns about water quality due to poor pipes and other infrastructure concerns, or even horrendous air quality from traffic and oil plumes,” pointed out Kayla Asato, redistricting campaign organizer with Orange County Environmental Justice. Asato noted that these environmental justice issues are “often overlooked by policy makers, while low-income and mostly Latinx communities already facing problems like housing injustice and police brutality, pay the price.”

Image: Asato shares public comment on redistricting at the Orange County Supervisor’s Meeting that included county redistricting on its agenda for the first time on June 22.

Vietnamese and broader Southeast Asian communities in Orange County “have shared experiences associated with being both low-income and immigrants and refugees and face related challenges like access to affordable housing, with many living in non-traditional housing and mobile homes,”  said Vincent Tran, community engagement coordinator with VietRISE. According to the US Census, over 60% of the Vietnamese community is foreign born and over 70% of the Vietnamese in the city of Westminster are foreign born.

Image: Tran shares public comment at the Orange County Supervisor’s Meeting on June 22.

These and others are examples of a long-standing trend on health, housing, and many other policy crises in the region that adversely impact Latinx, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and other people of color and immigrant communities – at all layers of government.

This is the third public meeting at which members of the alliance have participated to voice community concerns. The alliance is also involved in redistricting at the local level, including county supervisorial districts, as well as a number of city councils and school boards districts. 

Residents can learn more at the alliance’s website at  occivic.org/redistricting.

# # #

Contact: Yongho Kim, Communications Consultant, OCCET, (323) 968-3358 yongho@occivic.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2021

Categories
Press Release Redistricting

Release: Organizations Want Focus on Community, Not Politics

PEOPLE’S REDISTRICTING ALLIANCE

As Orange County Board of Supervisors Prepares for 2021 Redistricting, Community Organizations Want Focus on Community Needs, Not Party Politics

Garden Grove, CA: Following a 2011 Orange County Board of Supervisors redistricting designed to ensure partisan control, community organizations and residents are organizing to ensure this decade’s process centers around community needs rather than party politics. A coalition of over 16 groups, the People’s Redistricting Alliance has come together to educate low-income communities of color about the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative boundaries, mobilize them to participate in public hearings, and create a space through which they can identify “communities of interest” and draw maps that improve the responsiveness of government at all levels.

The Alliance includes the ACLU of Southern California, AHRI Center, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Latino Health Access, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Orange County Civic Engagement Table, Orange County Congregation Community Organization, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, Orange County Environmental Justice, Orange County Voter Information Project, Pacific Islander Health Partnership, Resilience Orange County, South Asian Network, and VietRISE.

As the Board of Supervisors prepares to present an updated redistricting plan during its June 22 meeting, Alliance members expressed concern that the process that begins this year not repeat mistakes of the past. According to a 2011 article in the Voice of OC, the Republican Party of Orange County worked with incumbents to orchestrate a redistricting that protected the party’s interests (Voice of OC, August 24, 2011). According to the Alliance, that has resulted in a lack of responsiveness to community needs around critical issues like healthcare and housing. Alliance members point to the pandemic as an example and the Board’s failure to support public health officials and basic public health interventions like wearing masks. While people of color now make up over 61% of Orange County’s total population, they have made up over 75% of COVID-19 cases countywide.

“Redistricting should improve the lives of those most in need, not work against them,” said Mary Anne Foo, executive director at the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance and member of the Alliance. “We can’t afford another process in which the interests of politicians, corporations, and the wealthy are more valued than community members.”

Recent state legislation has changed the rules of local redistricting, creating more opportunities for a fair process. Passed in 2019 and 2020 respectively, AB 849 and AB 1276 now require county and city redistricting processes to include public hearings before and after the release of draft maps, engage the public in multiple languages, and draw district lines in a nonpartisan manner.

“The redistricting process should center and lift community voices,” said Jonathan Paik, executive director of the Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET). “It needs to be designed accordingly, with enough time and enough opportunities for public input, engaging the public in languages that reflect our county’s diversity.”

“State law now prohibits drawing districts to benefit one political party over another,” added Julia Gomez, staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. “A partisan board of supervisors redistricting like 2011 would be illegal in 2021.”

More information about the People’s Redistricting Alliance can be found online at occivic.org/redistricting.

# # #

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2021

Contact: Yongho Kim, Communications Consultant, OCCET yongho@occivic.org