Grassroots Organizations Respond to City of Auburn Passing Map Without Second Majority Minority Neighborhood – The Atmore Advance

The city of Auburn chose this week to be on the wrong side of history and adopted a city map that failed to create a second-majority minority neighborhood. The decision came despite 2020 census data showing a growing minority population and appeals from citizens representing various ethnic backgrounds.

After months of discussion, three different proposed votes, and an analysis of an alternative map proposed by the NAACP of Lee County, the city council voted 7-2 to adopt a map created by city staff that only counts only one black neighborhood. The adopted map will be in place for ten years.

From 2010 to 2020, Lee County’s minority population grew by 42.6% to 36.8% of the county’s total population. This means that to create fair and equitable representation, the city would have had to create two majority minority wards out of the total eight wards.

The Lee County NAACP submitted an alternate map in December 2021 that created two majority minority districts. At the January 18 city council meeting, attorney Dorman Walker and University of Georgia political science professor Trey Hood both told the council that the map proposed by the local NAACP chapter would not pass. the Gingles test and that there were not enough voters per neighborhood to constitute two majority minority constituencies.

The Lee County NAACP maintained that its map had been checked by redistricting experts.

The Lee County NAACP attempted to work with City of Auburn officials throughout the process to create a map that was fairer to Auburn’s growing minority population. Before the city opened the public hearing on Tuesday, there were discussions between the city council, the mayor and the city manager about whether to reopen the hearing for the public to speak since the city had already given several other times for public comment.

More than 20 people spoke out in favor of the Lee County NAACP card Tuesday night, including state NAACP president Bernard Simelton.

Simelton said the votes of black citizens across the country are not counted equally because of packing and cracking that dilutes black voting power.

Simelton reminded the board that a tri-panel judge ruled on Jan. 24, 2022, that Alabama congressional cards passed by the Alabama legislature last fall violate voting rights law. Walker also served as an adviser for state congressional maps.

“Based on these facts and what happened in the state’s redistricting plan, I join the citizens of Auburn and the NAACP in asking as duly elected officials to put side what the Auburn City Council has proposed and then adopt the map that’s presented by the NAACP of Auburn,” Simelton said.

The state adopted maps based on Walker’s advice and is now in litigation with several groups. The state had to redraw its 2011 maps, which were also advised by Walker.

Police had to escort Auburn resident David Massey out of the council meeting after calling the NAACP a racist organization. Massey told a room full of NAACP members that a lot of “liberal white people can’t accept that a lot of black people are racist.” Mayor Ron Anders Jr., finally, after a request from the public, had Massey removed from the council meeting and a brief recess was taken to allow everyone to regain their composure.

“Auburn’s city manager, mayor and council chose to uphold white supremacy by rejecting a fairer map proposed by the NAACP that would have given minority voters greater representation in line with Auburn’s population growth” , Warren Tidwell, community resilience and outreach coordinator for the organizing Hometown Project, said. “They continued to rely on false information presented by legal counsel Dorman Walker, who worked on the statewide congressional map that was just found to violate the Human Rights Act. vote. That being said, this process has brought together a multi-generational, multi-racial coalition that will not stop organizing in Auburn.

Lee County NAACP also released a statement: “The decision made by the board last night was disappointing. Even discouraging for some. However, we will continue to stand with the people and push for fairness, as we have done throughout this process.

The local chapter plans to contact the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund (LDF) for advice on the best course of action.

“Our commitment to this global process reflects our concern for citizens. The NAACP seeks to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights and where there is no racial hatred or racial discrimination,” the statement read.

About Harold Shirley

Check Also

Auburn coordinators promoted, Zac Etheridge receives pay raises

A trio of Auburn assistants received raises for their new roles with the program. …