A federal judge rejected Miami’s effort to keep its district map and Miami Residents can now get involved. They cited accusations of “racial gerrymandering.” Now, community groups are seeking input from residents to create a new map for Miami’s districts. Also, this comes after the ruling on racial gerrymandering.
In the previous month, Judge K. Michael Moore instructed Miami’s administration to discard its map of the city’s five commission districts. The ACLU of Florida, representing the plaintiffs, claimed that the city primarily considered race when drawing the map. Also, the judge agreed that plaintiffs were likely to win.
Racial Equality for the Win
During commission meetings, commissioners Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Joe Carollo extensively discussed the preservation of three Hispanic districts, one Black district, and one white district. They engaged with map consultant Miguel De Grandy in these discussions.
On May 31, the City filed an appeal and requested Judge Moore to delay enforcing his order while the appeal is ongoing. ACLU of Florida attorney Nicholas Warren stated that during a status conference with the judge on Friday, the judge expressed his intention to deny the motion. However, there have been no updates on the case docket to confirm this information.
Advocacy groups Engage Miami and GRACE, who are plaintiffs in the case, developed their own district shapes at the end of last month. Their proposed maps aim to create districts using natural boundaries like the Miami River and major roadways as borders.
On Monday night at 6:30 p.m., the groups organized a community forum at Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Coconut Grove to present the maps to the community. Needless to say, people turned out in large numbers to support the initiative. Also, it was backed by the local residents.
Consulting with the Residents
Over 60 people attended the forum, including representatives from Commissioner Sabina Covo’s office, as well as her previous opponents James Torres and Javier Gonzalez. A resident inquired about ways to have an impact on City Hall beyond lawsuits. Attorney Warren from the ACLU of Florida advised residents to attend city meetings and ensure their voices are heard.
The interested participants wanted to know more about the proposal and the case. They asked how the groups created their proposed maps and how those maps aimed to safeguard the interests of Black voters in the city. A pertinent question.
The New Changes
Warren clarified that the maps were created by using natural boundaries like rivers and major roads. The goal was to keep neighborhoods intact within a single district. In the current city map, some communities like Coconut Grove are divided among Districts 2, 3, and 4.
Also, an expert drew the new maps. As such, they accommodate the requests and remarks of all around in a masterful way. It contains the number of Black registered voters in every district. That is the way to go about it. Furthermore, Black voters now have a chance to choose a voter of their own choice.
Next for the Community
The City and the plaintiffs will meet for mediation soon. They must come to an agreement about the map before June 23. If they can’t agree, there are some further steps for that. Miami must submit a map that complies with the US Constitution. This was a long time coming.
They must also place an interim map before August 1. This is one of the conditions. Judge Moore has decreed this. There must be a resolution that satisfies both parties. Let us see what happens in the near future. Surely the parties involved will reach a logical conclusion.