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Florida redistricting locks out state’s largest Ethnic Group

Florida redistricting locks out state’s largest Ethnic Group
January 20
13:52 2022

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Florida’s population growth of 2.7 million new residents between 2010 and 2020 led to the new seat in the once-every-decade redistricting process. Census data show Florida’s largest growth over the last decade has come from Latinos and other communities of color.

Latinos now comprise over 25% of the state’s population. Yet within the next couple of weeks, the Florida legislature is poised to approve new political maps that will deny Latinos fair and equitable representation at the state and federal levels for the next decade, further widening the socio-economic disparities that already exist within the state. Experts at the EMS briefing on Jan 13 discussed this imperative issue. This time, the redistricting process has been largely bereft of public comment or participation.

The Florida state Legislature this week is finalizing its redistricting maps, carving out 40 seats in the state Legislature, and 28 seats in Congress. Latinos now comprise more than one-fourth of Florida’s population, but Kira Romero-Craft, Executive Director, Latino Justice, said no majority Latino districts are being created. If you are trying to give equal opportunity for minorities to select a representative of their choice, then when there is an opportunity you must give it to them, added Kira.

Father Jose Rodriguez, Jesus of Nazareth Episcopal Church, Oviedo, Florida said redistricting efforts by the state of Florida is a  conscious effort to erase the voting power of Latinos. He added Latinos, who accounted for more than half of the country’s population growth over the last decade, deserve to have their votes counted. Their strengthened political power would mean a government that better reflects their needs.

Cecilia Gonzalez, a community member of Osceola County said the redistricting process happened behind closed doors. People were discouraged or openly denied access. The county of Osceola was 55% Latino and community members are discouraged to question in Spanish during the city council meetings, added Cecilia.

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