LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A coalition of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community leaders and organizations including Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment are joining together to raise concerns over California Citizens Redistricting Commission's draft maps of the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). The draft maps split West San Gabriel Valley cities (WSGV) and East San Gabriel Valley (ESGV) cities with significant AAPI populations into multiple congressional districts. In these drafted commission maps, the AAPI community would face an uphill battle to elect a representative from their own community and reverse four decades of progress by community coalitions and partnerships.
Splitting the WSGV and ESGV AAPI communities is especially troubling at this time when the AAPI community needs political representation to address issues such as rise in hate crimes, loss of business revenues due to COVID-19 and being unfairly blamed for its cause, and other forms of historical and new forms of discrimination. Both WSGV and ESGV are represented by AAPI women, one Democrat and one Republican, and have been strong advocates for the AAPI community locally and nationally. Losing the ability to elect an AAPI representative in WSGV and/or ESGV would effectively suppress the collective power of the largest and most diverse AAPI community in the country.
The WSGV AAPI community has a strong long-standing cultural identity, which has allowed immigrant AAPI families to have a sense of belonging and seek opportunities for economic success. In WSGV, the cities of Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City, and Arcadia have AAPI majority and should be in the same congressional district. All but San Marino are in the same Assembly and State Senate districts in the draft maps, yet the cities are split at the congressional level in a way that dilutes the political power of the AAPI community.
A burgeoning AAPI community is identifiable in ESGV by retail plazas with AAPI businesses, AAPI churches and temples, and AAPI language schools. In ESGV, the communities of Hacienda Heights, Walnut, Rowland Heights, and Diamond Bar are currently in a district with 33% AAPIs and in the new maps will be put in a new district with the Gateway Cities that will reduce the AAPIs to 21%, diluting AAPI representation. These communities should remain in a district with neighborhoods that reflect similar economic conditions that may cross county lines into North Orange County and San Bernardino.
As SGV is the birthplace of decades of AAPI political activism, splitting the AAPI community would not only cause a loss of representation locally but nationally as well. SGV representatives have been at the forefront of advocating for issues that the AAPI community cares about at the national level, providing representation for many who do not live in districts with large enough AAPI communities to elect their own representative. This is one of the ways the AAPI community makes its voice heard as the fastest growing population group in the country and must not be diminished.
As the deadline to finalize redistricting maps approaches, we strongly urge the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to right this wrong in the next release of draft maps and protect the right of both the WSGV AAPI community and the ESGV AAPI community to political representation. We also invite community members and organizations to join us in our effort to ensure AAPI representation in SGV and nationally.
Organizations who have signed on to this statement as of November 18, 2021 are listed below. An updated list can be found at: https://bit.ly/jointstatement21
Contact: Farrah Su
CAUSE Marketing and Communications Manager
Phone: (213) 269-5716
SOURCE Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE)
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