Buena Park, La Palma, and Cypress

Orange County is home to large and growing Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities.  These populations are particularly prominent along the border of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, where the cities of Buena Park, La Palma, Cypress, Cerritos, and Artesia come together across county lines (see darker green shaded areas in Figure A below).  In Buena Park, AMEMSA communities are located primarily south of the 5 Freeway, where important religious centers such as the Gurdwara Singh Saba and Gurdwara Buena Park are also located. Together, these five cities share more in common with other communities in Orange County than they do with Los Angeles County and should be drawn into Orange County-based districts where possible.  As part of their daily lives, AMEMSA communities in Orange County cross into Los Angeles County to shop in ethnic markets, dine in restaurants, worship, and access social services in Artesia and Cerritos. Institutions in Cerritos and Artesia like the Islamic Center of Cerritos, Baitul Mukarram, Al Burooj Academy, and the headquarters of Islamic Relief are particularly important to Orange County residents.

Guidance:  Buena Park (south of the 5 Freeway) and Cypress should be drawn together with Cerritos and Artesia in Orange County-based districts.

Detailed Testimony:  Hina Ahmad (South Asian Network) and Fayaz Nawabi (CAIR-LA).

Figure A: Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) Population by Census Tract.

Source: United States Census Bureau, 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Tables B02018 and B04006.

Sample Video Embed
Community of Interest Testimony to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission

​​Date: October 4, 2021
Zone: J (Orange County)
Area: Buena Park, Artesia, Cerritos

Name: Hina Ahmad
Organizational Affiliation: South Asian Network (People’s Redistricting Alliance)
Community of Interest: South Asians
Direction: Keep the South Asian community in Buena Park, Cerritos, and Artesia whole

Introduction:
Hi, my name is Hina Ahmad. I am writing on behalf of the South Asian Network. Our organization provides culturally and linguistically sensitive direct services to the South Asian community in the areas of healthcare access, civil and immigrant rights, and gender based violence. In addition we are a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, a coalition of 16 community-based organizations established to promote a greater community voice in statewide and local redistricting processes here in Orange County.

Who my community is:
My community of interest is the South Asian community. It is diverse in culture, language and faith, and is integral to the community at large. Our community gathers in times of celebration and times of advocacy. They are a community that shares resources across the board. The South Asian community is also diverse in its socioeconomic status, education levels, and immigration status. Many South Asians immigrated to this country, seeking asylum, seeking opportunity, and have since built strong ties with local communities. The South Asian community in Southern California is bound together by a shared history and geography.

Where my community is located:
My community is located near the many faith based institutions that serve the region, including the Buena Park Gurdwara on Orangethorpe and Knott and “Little India” in Artesia. These communities have south South Asian grocery stores, clothing stores and restaurants close together, creating a unique gathering place for community members. These religious and cultural institutions/community centers are what make Artesia, the “Little India” of California! The South Asian Network is also in the heart of Little India, and we provide citizenship, public benefit, mental health and food assistance to our community, primarily in Artesia, Buena Park and Cerritos.

My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:
My community is similar to other neighborhoods in the region in that it is diverse in its language capacities, faith, socioeconomic status, countries of origin, education, immigration status, and more. The temples and places of worship in Buena Park, Artesia, and Cerritos have continued to embrace the community around them and provide resources to their neighbors, regardless of ethnic backgrounds or religious affiliations. These communities should be kept together in the same interest. With common interest, the communities in these cities continue to care deeply for one another.

My community is different from the following neighborhoods:
My community is different from neighboring communities because of its size. Artesia, Buena Park and Cerritos have a very large South Asian population and a unique area in which community members are able to be themselves and express their culture.

What makes my community special is:
Its diversity and it’s very specific needs. It is important that the voices and needs of the South Asian community are heard and understood by elected officials. South Asians are often perceived as affluent professionals. Yet many South Asians are living in poverty, hiding in the shadows, fearful of alienating immigration policies, unable to access resources due to limited language capacities. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what many South Asians know – we need in language resources to access support like healthcare access, financial support, public health education, community and mental health support, and so much more.

In conclusion:
It’s important that the South Asian community be taken into consideration in the new district maps. Our communities work together to support one another, share resources, and advocate for needs. It’s important that these communities be kept together, to empower their voices, and to continue building these strong ties.

Community of Interest Testimony to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission

​​Date: October 5, 2021
Zone: J (Orange County)
Area: Artesia/Cypress/Cerritos/Buena Park

Name: Fayaz ​​Nawabi
Organizational Affiliation:Council on American-Islamic Relations (People’s Redistricting Alliance)
Community of Interest: AMEMSA and North African communities
Direction: Keep Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos, and Buena Park whole in an OC district

Introduction:
Hi, my name is Fayaz Nawabi, and I’m writing on behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA). As part of our organizing and advocacy, we are a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, a coalition of 16 community-based organizations established to promote a greater community voice in statewide and local redistricting processes here in Orange County.

Who my community is:
My community is Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian, North African, immigrant and refugees that live in Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos and Buena Park. My community also consists of low/middle income families, minimum wage workers, renters with some homeowners here and there.

Where my community is located:
My community is in Artesia, Buena Park, Cypress, and Cerritos. The current political district boundaries divide our community. We would like to see our community be kept intact and together. Artesia in particular is a major shopping district that is known in Southern California for its South Asian restaurants and clothing shops. Families as far as San Diego visit Artesia to shop at these South Asian Ethnic boutiques.

In addition, Islamic Relief the largest Muslim humanitarian relief organization is located in Buena Park. Islamic Relief employs many members of the AMEMSA and North African community and their headquarters is used as a meeting place for the AMEMSA and North African community in the areas of Buena Park, Cypress, Artesia and Cerritos. 

Furthermore, many mosques and community centers that serve the AMEMSA and North African communities are located in Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos and Buena Park. These mosques and community centers include the Islamic Center of Cerritos, Baitul Mukarram, Al Burooj Academy and the headquarters of Islamic Relief.

My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:
My community is similar in the following neighborhoods of Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos and Buena Park. These communities are similar to low/middle income families, minimum wage, AAPI and Latino communities. 

My community is different from the following neighborhoods:
My community in Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos, and Buena Park is different from LA County and would prefer to be drawn in a political district map in Orange County. My community does not want to be considered part of LA County because they culturally feel closer to being part of an Orange County drawn district map. Artesia in particular houses many South Asian restaurants and clothing boutiques that Orange County residents shop at frequently.

The communities of Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos, and Buena Park have more affinity to the communities of Garden Grove and Westminster than any city that LA County can offer up. 

What makes my community special is:
What makes my community special is that we are an Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian, North African, immigrant and refugee community. Our community has historically been victims of Islamophobia and anti-Immigrant rhetoric from elected officials. Our community would like to see elected officials that are either from our community or at the very least culturally competent to the concerns of our historically demonized community. 

In conclusion:
We want the Artesia, Cypress, Cerritos and Buena Park community to be kept together in an Orange County political district map. We believe these communities share the same demographic and socio economic background. These communities also share community centers that the four different cities frequent interchangeably. Thus, they must be kept together.

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