Ejaz Nabie did what a desperate community leader did when he saw the Queens congregation involved in one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in New York last winter. He turned to a state government representative for help.
For Navier, a congregation minister, that meant trying seven of them.
The extraordinary outreach was not just enthusiastic, but reflected the surrealistic political geography of his Richmond Hill district and adjacent South Ozone Park. The South Queens region, whose inhabitants are Indo-Caribbean and Punjabis, is a classic example of collateral damage caused by the way New York has historically drawn legislative boundaries.
Seven legislative districts cut through a few square miles around Mr. Navy’s Church of the Faith — division blocks, congregations, and even families. At some intersections, three of the four corners are divided among different legislators, leaving residents without a clear leader to rely on the state government.
Recalling his struggle to secure mask and vaccine doses for his fellow immigrants from Guyana, Trinidad, and elsewhere in the Caribbean, “We can be responsible for one person. You should have, “said Mr. Nabby. “Instead, I’m trying to hold all seven people avoiding me.”
When New York begins its ten-year mission to reshape the parliamentary district, the focus is primarily on a sort of seismic clash between Democrats and Republicans who help determine the majority of Washington and Albany. bottom.
But, as Navier’s experience shows, constituency changes also include something more fundamental. It’s a battle for representatives, and it’s a way for communities to compete with each other, and sometimes even in the interests of elected leaders.
Asian-American activists in other parts of the city are also certain to take advantage of the population surge over the past decade to replace the fragmented districts of Elmhurst in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn and Bensonhurst. I’m trying to.
Farther away, democratic, but apparently divided by Republicans for partisan reasons, cities like Isaka and Rochester are seeking more coherent district boundaries.
But the situation in Richmond Hill is most clear on how difficult it is to break decades of political inertia, especially when those who draw the final line may be interested in maintaining the status quo. May be shown in.
“In order for any community to really come to a legitimate place in the United States, it needs people in that community to stand up, take leadership positions, and have a viable way to hold elected positions.” Connected lobbyist and founder John Albert said. A member of Taking Our Seat, a group that helped organize a campaign to consolidate the divided legislative districts of the region.
There is no easy answer as to why Richmond Hill cracked and why it continued. There seems to have been no obvious effort to keep South Asians out of power or target the region. Instead, political scientists point out a mix of inertia and self-interest on the part of democratic incumbents and legal precedents who tend to punish newcomers.
Roman B. Hedges, a member of the Legislative Task Force who helped map Congress for 30 years, defended the current boundaries as the best attempt to balance competing political interests.
Another consideration is by the Voting Rights Act and the courts to protect African-American, Latino-American, and Asian candidates’ ability to select candidates of their choice and draw districts of approximately the same size. He said it was related to the complex legal requirements created.
In as diverse a region as Queens, mapmakers basically base existing districts dominated by one of these groups before considering what to do with new or less homogeneous areas like Richmond Hill. Must be maintained.
Part of the problem may be that it is difficult to measure the size of the South Asian community in the region. People of Indo-Caribbean heritage trace their pedigree back to India, but many do not identify them as “Asian” in the form of a census and choose “Other” instead. As a result, at least on paper, there are no dominant ethnic groups that cartographers should be aware of.
“Maybe it’s not so much a plan to prevent it as a hope of creating it elsewhere for other purposes,” Hedges said. If you’re in an unfocused community, you might feel like, “I wasn’t paying attention, so I’m going to give my voice now.” “
But there may be more political reasons.
Incumbents can fill the district by cutting it off as a small part of the “filler” of the immigrant community. It states that constituency change experts are unlikely to vote in the primary. That way, they can maintain the number of members required by law without diluting their own support base.
As the community matures and becomes more politically involved, lawmakers may prefer to keep the district boundaries intact, with little incentive to give up their votes.
“What I know is what the community is doing now, and what it’s been like for decades,” said the founder of the advocacy group South Queens Women’s March. Said Amin Takira Wannarin. “These lines do not reflect its history and do not reflect the people who live here.”
South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill, north of John F. Kennedy Airport, are well-known emblems of modern New York City through a street lined with Queen Anne-style houses and elevated subway lines. The traditional white ethnic enclave has been reorganized by Latino Americans and later South Asian immigrants, with shops selling salis and roti instead of Italian bakeries and German beer halls.
However, while the influx of newcomers has merged into a culturally dominant force, political power has been delayed. This is primarily due to inconsistent patchwork in city councils, state councils, and especially parliamentary districts.
Divided among so many representatives, many in the community have resented the conclusion that they are not anyone’s priority.
It will serve as a clearing house for state interests and relief programs, receiving feedback from Albany using government services and the district office of the physical store, which is the cornerstone of the administration, as a point of contact for its members. Of the seven members representing parts of the region, only one, David I. Weprin, opened a district office.
- 1 Understand how US constituency changes work
- 1.1 AlsoRead
- 1.2 Omicron Case With a New York Tie Shows How Virus Outpaces Response
- 1.3 Dramatic Day Reveals Details About the Parents of a School Shooting Suspect
- 1.4 He Never Touched the Murder Weapon. Alabama Sentenced Him to Die.
- 1.5 A Bitcoin Boom Fueled by Cheap Power, Empty Plants and Few Rules
- 1.6 Homes That Sold for Around $600,000
- 1.7 He Never Touched the Murder Weapon. Alabama Sentenced Him to Die.
Understand how US constituency changes work
What is a subdivision? This is to redraw the boundaries between the parliamentary and state legislative districts. Occurs every 10 years after the census to reflect changes in the population.
“We felt that we weren’t part of the democratic process, were ignored, and were silent,” said Guyana-American Professor Taj Largekumar, who ran for parliamentary seats in 2000. There are more immigration services, community centers for the elderly, increased vocational training, clinics.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.