A Look at the Landscape
South Asian Americans have been shut out from holding elected office in New York. The root cause of the problem is the current configuration of legislative district lines which split our neighborhoods into fragments. This fragmentation dilutes the voting power of South Asian-Americans and makes it very hard for our community leaders to run viable election campaigns. Beyond electoral politics, this fragmentation forces our community service providers to seek the help of those from outside our community for resources and to change government policy.
The term ‘redistricting’ refers to the process through which census data is employed to redraw the boundaries of electoral districts at all levels of government, at the local, state and federal level. In New York State, the State Assembly and Senate district lines were redrawn in the Spring of 2012 by the New York State Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Due to the leadership of Taking Our Seat, in partnership with the community, the 24th Assembly district in Queens now has a South Asian American plurality.
New York City's Districting Commission has begun its process to draw City Council lines to impact 2013 New York City elections. Much like the the work undertaken at the State level, Taking Our Seat seeks to redraw City Council district boundary lines so existing South Asian-American communities are not split among many legislative districts.
Our community's common identity is already a reality on the ground. It is only the political lines that have not kept pace. Our common identity is a a reality in the neighborhoods where we have chosen to settle, buy homes and open businesses, it’s the catchment area for our social service providers, it’s the shopping and entertainment district for our families and its where our community has located its institutions and houses of worship. Now, the time has come for the legislative district lines to acknowledge the fact on the ground.
Join us on our campaign and help us to take our seat.
The Taking Our Seat Team