City redistricting determines which neighborhoods get resources and representation, and thanks to your emails and advocacy over the past year, the City Council answered our calls for a public redistricting process!
Earlier this year, we teamed up with the Shelby County Voter Alliance to gather support for including community voices in how our city’s maps are drawn, and we ramped up our efforts in September after the City Council voted to approve a new map drawn by unelected city attorney Allan Wade. We were told that the redistricting process would be an open one, redistricting meetings would appear clearly on the Council agenda, and that public input would be welcomed, but the new map was rushed through after meetings behind closed doors ahead of the special election in November to fill the District 4 seat vacancy.
In fact, this map was approved even though the August 23rd meeting was the first time the public–and even some of the Council members–had seen the proposed changes. Redrawing maps behind closed doors is undemocratic and shuts all of us out of important decisions that will affect our families, neighborhoods, and communities for the next decade. To get the word out and spur people to take action, we held a press conference and sent out a mailer to households around Memphis. We weren’t disappointed–Memphians flooded City Council members’ inboxes with emails calling for a fair process, and in October, City Council responded by passing a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas to establish a public redistricting committee!
The first public committee meeting was held on Tuesday, December 13, and we’re very much looking forward to the maps and community-centered insight they’ll bring forward in the new year ahead of the city elections.