Supreme Court Reinstates Congressional Map With Two Majority-Minority Districts

May 17, 2024
 / 
Image
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 16, 2024
On May 15th 2024, the US Supreme Court made history by reinstating Louisiana’s new congressional map voted in by the Louisiana legislature and fought for by activists throughout the state, including the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. The state of Louisiana now has a congressional map that contains a second Black-majority district that will be in effect in time for the November general election.  The court voted to grant a stay in Robinson V. Callias, after a district court made a decision to strike down the congressional map introduced by SB8 in January. The court ruled that the maps were “an impermissible racial gerrymander in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”. The panel was made up of three judges, and the authors of the majority opinion were appointed by former President Donald Trump.  SB8 was created in response to Robinson V. Landry, where the 2022...
Read More

Supreme Court, for Now, Allows Louisiana Voting Map to Move Forward

May 16, 2024
 / 
Image
Abbie VanSickle, The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily reinstated a congressional map in Louisiana that includes a second majority-Black district, increasing the likelihood that Democrats could gain a House seat from the state in the November election.

The move could be particularly significant in an election cycle in which the balance of power in the House is likely to be determined by a handful of races.

The order was unsigned, as is the Supreme Court’s custom in ruling on emergency applications. It came in response to a challenge to a lower-court decision that had blocked the map drawn by Louisiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature, deeming it a racial gerrymander.

...
Read More

Supreme Court allows Louisiana to use congressional map with second majority-Black district

May 15, 2024
 / 
Image
Lawrence Hurley, NBC News

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday paved the way for Louisiana to use a congressional map in this year’s election that includes two majority-Black districts.

The court granted emergency requests filed by an unlikely alliance of Republican state officials and civil rights groups, who were united in asking the high court to block a lower court ruling that invalidated the most recently drawn map. State officials had said they needed to have the map finalized by Wednesday to meet bureaucratic deadlines and avoid “disarray.”

The court’s three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writing that the state still had time to draw a map that would address the various legal questions that have been raised. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.

...
Read More

Emergency Apartment Relocation Assistance Program announced for Jolie, Villa Norte apartments

May 15, 2024
 / 
Image
Rick Rojas, The New York Times

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – An emergency program has been announced to assist residents who will be displaced when utilities are cut off at two apartment complexes in Shreveport.

On May 15, the City of Shreveport announced an Emergency Apartment Relocation Assistance Program for the residents of two apartments, Jolie and Villa Norte. The program has been introduced following the announcement that utilities will be cut off at both apartment complexes on May 31 due to unpaid bills.

Multiple apartment complexes will soon have their water turned off due to lack of payments.

The program aims to provide necessary aid and resources to support the residents.

Both meetings regarding the program will be held on May 17.

...
Read More

Federal Judges Block Newly Drawn Louisiana Congressional Map

May 3, 2024
 / 
Image
Rick Rojas, The New York Times

A newly drawn congressional map in Louisiana was struck down on Tuesday by a panel of federal judges who found that the new boundaries, which form a second majority Black district in the state, amounted to an “impermissible racial gerrymander” that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The 2-to-1 ruling now leaves uncertain which boundaries will be used in the November elections, which are just six months away and could play a critical role in determining the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

Critics warned that the decision could have broader implications on voting rights. Eric H. Holder Jr., the former U.S. attorney general and current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the “ideological nature of the decision could not be more clear.”

...
Read More

House Bill 800: Why Senators Should Not Sell Louisiana (Or Any Other State) To Big Business

April 30, 2024
 / 
Image
By Ashley Shelton in Newsone

The State Constitution of Louisiana is not perfect; no state constitution is. But that doesn’t mean state constitutions should be tossed aside or arbitrarily opened with no clarity on the rationale for doing so. It takes time to craft a governing document, and it takes time to protect the individual liberties and basic rights of all. But in seeking to host a constitutional convention, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry is undermining democracy and putting Louisianians at risk.

Under House Bill 800, legislators would convene on May 20, write a new state constitution by June 15 and put it on the ballot during the 2024 presidential election. This narrow window would make it hard for Louisianians to understand the process, offer input, or ensure that their rights are protected. The convention itself, and the short timeline for it, would also compromise local governments and institutions.

...
Read More

Ida B. Wells Was a Pathbreaking Data Storyteller

April 30, 2024
 / 
Image
State Voices
In our movement for a just democracy, we often affirm that data and technology, in the hands of oppressed communities, can help liberate us. The life and legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett provides compelling evidence of this truth.  Born Ida Bell Wells in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and often writing under the pseudonym, “Lola” throughout her career, Wells’ legacy as a courageous reporter and activist has made her a symbol of justice journalism, Black resistance, and Black feminist organizing.  Her work also proved that data is more accurate when collected and driven by communities, making her a trailblazing data specialist and storyteller. ...
Read More

Power Coalition rep discusses Shreveport’s 3 bond proposals

April 24, 2024
 / 
Image
KSLA News
BIlly Anderson, North Louisiana Organizer for the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice discusses the 3 Bond Proposals before Shreveport Voters. Election Day is Saturday, April 27....
Read More

Louisiana Congressional map debate continues in federal court

April 10, 2024
 / 
Image
by Myriam Samake, KTAL News

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)—The recently passed Louisiana Congressional district map is being debated in federal court after opponents filed a lawsuit calling it unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs said they brought the lawsuit because they believe the map was drawn unconstitutionally, with race being a prominent factor.

The newly drawn map passed in the 2024 Special Legislative Session, created a second Black majority out of Louisiana’s six districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Because 1/3 of voters in Louisiana are Black, the Act requires that the district be drawn to reflect that representation.

Jared Evans, Senior Policy counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argues that the goal of the plaintiffs is to “have a district with one majority Black district and five majority White that elect White republicans.”

...
Read More

Hearing underway on attempt to overthrow La.’s congressional map

April 10, 2024
 / 
Image
By Curtis Heyen, Donna Keeya and Jasmine Franklin for KSLA News 12

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The trial over a lawsuit attempting to overthrow Louisiana’s new congressional map will continue Wednesday (April 10).

The hearing before a three-judge panel is being held in Shreveport. It began Monday and could last at least one more day.

Earlier this year, Louisiana lawmakers were tasked with making the map after a judge said a previous one violated the Voting Rights Act. The judge said Louisiana must have two majority-minority districts since one-third of its population is African-American. The previous map had one such district.

Under the latest map, the new 6th Congressional District extends from southern Caddo Parish through Natchitoches and Alexandria to Baton Rouge. The new boundaries jeopardize Republican Congressman Garret Graves’ place in Congress.

...
Read More

Jeff Landry targeted Garret Graves in redrawing district map, LA lawmaker testifies

April 9, 2024
 / 
Image
by Brendan Heffernan, Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate

The trial to decide the fate of Louisiana’s congressional representation continued in Shreveport on Tuesday, as the court heard further testimony from elected officials and demographics experts.

The trial is the result of a federal lawsuit filed by a group of Louisiana residents that argued that the congressional map supported by Gov. Jeff Landry and approved by the state Legislature in January amounted to an unconstitutional “racial gerrymander.” The map, introduced in Senate Bill 8, created a new majority Black congressional district stretching diagonally across the state to encompass the large Black communities in and around Shreveport, Alexandria, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. 

...
Read More

Environmental Protection Agency Gives $20 Billion in ‘Green Bank’ Grants

Image
by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
When Marcus Jones and his business partner, Akunna Olumba, set out to open a pizzeria in Detroit, they spoke with banks about their green vision: solar panels on the roof, an energy-efficient tankless water heater and a rooftop system to capture storm water. “The lenders thought we were crazy,” Mr. Jones said. Traditional banks were skeptical that such investments would yield a return, and few had ever issued loans for clean energy or efficiency measures. They told the restaurateurs that it simply was not done. Instead, the pair connected with a so-called green bank, one of a growing number of entities that loan money to businesses and individuals for equipment or technology that reduces the pollution driving climate change....
Read More

Winning Women

March 27, 2024
 / 
Image
Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice
Women of color leaders across the US South are bringing in wins big and small that propel us toward cleaner energy, build health and wealth in disinvested communities, and protect democratic rights for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other marginalized populations. These are just a few of the wins and the women behind them we’re celebrating this women’s month....
Read More

Shining a Light On: Ashley Shelton

March 27, 2024
 / 
Image
Foundation for Louisiana Newletter
This month, we are shining a light on Ashley Shelton, the Founder, President & CEO of the Power Coalition, a statewide 501c3 table in Louisiana. The Power Coalition uses a broad-based strategy that combines community organizing, issue advocacy, and civic action, all while increasing the capacity of community organizations throughout the state to sustain and hold the work. Prior to founding the Power Coalition, Ashley was the Vice President of Programs at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (LDRF), now known as the Foundation for Louisiana. ...
Read More

Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots event stresses voting, civic engagement

March 14, 2024
 / 
Image
by Ya'Lisha Gatewood, KTAL News
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)—Local hair salon owners are partnered to host a Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots mixer. The event kicked off at Haze on Texas Street at 8 pm and went on until midnight. The event creators aimed to unite beauty professionals and enthusiasts to promote voter registration and participation and to get people out to party with a purpose....
Read More

Louisiana legislation targets mail-in absentee voting as it gains in popularity

March 12, 2024
 / 
Image
by Wesley Muller, Louisiana Illuminator
Louisiana lawmakers have filed legislation that would make it harder to vote by mail, particularly for elderly shut-ins and people with disabilities, just as record numbers cast ballots Saturday on the first day of early voting in the state’s March 23 presidential primary election. Since Louisiana adopted early voting almost 20 years ago, it has steadily grown in popularity. The coronavirus pandemic created a surge in mail-in voting that continues to increase, according to Baton Rouge pollster John Couvillon.  Saturday saw a 17% increase in mail-in voting for the first day of early voting compared with the 2020 presidential primary. There was an even greater spike for In-person early voting, which was up 89% relative to four years ago, with six days remaining to cast a ballot ahead of time. ...
Read More

Early voting begins in Shreveport

March 9, 2024
 / 
Image
By Henrietta Wildsmith, Shreveport Times
Early voting began Saturday morning, March 9, 2024, at Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters located at 525 Marshall Street in downtown Shreveport....
Read More

Baton Rouge Bike N Vote gets community involved with early voting

March 7, 2024
 / 
Image
By Vannia Joseph, WVLA Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election is set for Saturday, March 23 and while the voter registration deadline has passed, local organizations are working to get the community to take advantage of early voting. The Power Coalition of Equity and Justice in partnership with Geaux Ride Baton Rouge and Bike N Vote is making it their mission to get people to the polls with one of their signature events, biking to the polls....
Read More

Mardi Gras is Revolutionary

February 9, 2024
 / 
Image
By Deon Haywood, Verite News
As the executive director of Women With A Vision—an organization that has worked at the intersections of HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice, the criminalization of Black women and girls, and queer liberation for more than three decades—every day I see the ways oppressive systems leave too many fighting for survival.  Too often I hear the work of organizers and activists described in opposition. I have not spent over 30 years of my life in the fight for social justice to just see a world “without.” A world without racism or capitalism isn’t enough. We’re working to topple oppressive systems because we deserve so much more. The end of these systems is just the starting point. I’m looking toward a future filled with pleasure and joy and community, one where we are free to create art and dance and share our talents. I’m looking forward to a world that looks a little like Mardi...
Read More

Civil Rights Groups Secure Victory in Landmark Case Challenging Racial Discrimination in Louisiana’s State Legislative Maps  

February 9, 2024
 / 
Image
LDF Press Release
BATON ROUGE, La. — In a victory for fair maps, a federal court today ruled in favor of Louisiana voters, agreeing that the current state House and Senate district maps violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  The plaintiffs who challenged the state legislative maps — the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, and several individual voters — are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Louisiana, Legal Defense Fund (LDF), law firm Cozen O’ Connor, and Louisiana attorneys Ron Wilson and John Adcock.  In its decision, the court condemned the packing and cracking of Black communities within the maps, emphasizing the importance of upholding the principles of equal representation for all citizens.   In response to these findings, the court has mandated remedial measures to rectify the discriminatory boundaries, ensuring that future elections reflect the true diversity of the Louisiana population....
Read More

Black Louisianans Enter a New Political Era

January 25, 2024
 / 
Image
By Brandon Tensley, Capital B
With a fair congressional map signed into law, advocates shift to making sure that residents understand the stakes of this year’s elections. Baton Rouge resident Ashley Shelton was overjoyed when she learned that, after a years-long legal battle, Black Louisianans have secured greater political representation. On Monday, Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed into law a map that follows the math by adding a second majority-Black congressional district. Previously, Black Louisianans had a fair shot at electing their preferred candidate in only one of the Bayou State’s six congressional districts, even though Louisiana is 33% Black. “This whole story has been about the judges, the U.S. Supreme Court, the legislators, the governors. But, ultimately, the people are who got us here,” Shelton, the president and founder of the New Orleans-based nonprofit Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, which was a plaintiff in the case, told Capital B. “People power made this happen —...
Read More

Deep investments in energy savings approved today!

January 24, 2024
 / 
Image
By Alliance for Affordable Energy
After a 13 year process, the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve a Final Rule with a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) model to administer robust statewide energy efficiency programs.  Louisiana residents use at least 30% more electricity than the average American household, wasting millions of dollars a year on high utility bills. This is due in part to leaky, inefficient housing across the state. Now, after more than 13-years of regulatory proceedings, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) has approved long-term energy efficiency programs for Louisianans that will scale up over the coming decade to save energy and money, improve health and safety, and invest millions of dollars in homes and small businesses.  Since 2009, The Alliance has participated in LPSC proceedings, advocating for strong efficiency programs that reduce costs for residents by increasing funding options that allow Louisianans to make home improvements to safeguard their homes from extreme weather. ​...
Read More

Entergy Louisiana receives approval for additional renewable power facilities

January 24, 2024
 / 
Image
By P. James for Entergy
BATON ROUGE, La. – To meet customers’ needs for renewable energy, the Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the construction of facilities that would add approximately 225 megawatts of solar power to Entergy Louisiana’s generation portfolio. In 2023, the company sought Commission approval of two projects to source more solar energy – one in Iberville Parish that would account for approximately 175 megawatts, the other in Ouachita Parish that would be referred to as the Sterlington Solar Facility and account for an additional 49 megawatts. The Sterlington Solar Facility will be constructed adjacent to the site of one of Entergy Louisiana’s oldest power plants, symbolizing the modernization of the company’s generation fleet to more efficient, cleaner sources of power. The Sterlington Power Station was built and placed into operation in the 1920’s and initially produced around 25 megawatts of power....
Read More

Louisiana makes history with new Black congressional district that includes Shreveport

January 22, 2024
 / 
Image
By Greg Hilburn, Shreveport Times, in Daily World
Louisiana has a second majority Black congressional district for the first time in decades after Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed off on a new map Monday passed by the Legislature during a Special Session last week. Lawmakers dismantled Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves’ 6th Congressional District to create the new majority Black district that includes parts of Shreveport, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge as the population centers, putting Graves’ political future in danger....
Read More

Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Map That Empowers More Black Voters

January 19, 2024
 / 
Image
By Emily Cochrane for the New York Times
The Legislature passed a congressional map that creates a second majority-Black district while shielding the state’s most powerful conservatives in Washington from political jeopardy. Louisiana lawmakers on Friday approved a new congressional map that would create a second district with a majority of Black voters, after a federal court found that the existing map appeared to illegally undercut the power of Black voters in the state. Given that Black voters often back Democratic candidates in the state, the new map also increases the possibility of Democrats’ taking control of a second congressional seat in Louisiana....
Read More

Advocates to Hold Mass Mobilization Event at Louisiana Capitol Before Redistricting Committee Meeting and Public Hearing

January 15, 2024
 / 
Image
BATON ROUGE, La. – A pivotal Mass Mobilization Event is set for Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at 8 a.m. at the Louisiana Capitol Park Museum. Organized by Power Coalition, this event is a critical response to the special legislative session called by Gov. Jeff Landry, symbolically starting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, underscoring the ongoing struggle for racial equality and fair representation. Collaborators include NAACP LDF,SPLC, ACLU Louisiana, Step Up Louisiana, Bike N Vote, A Bella La Femme Society,A’sani Heartbeat Foundation, and Alabama Values. The event precedes the legislative session’s committee hearing and public testimony, starting with a training breakfast with legal experts Jared Evans and Victoria Wenger from the Legal Defense Fund.  Attendees will also receive additional education from the Power Coalition and other advocates regarding the ongoing fight for fair maps and how it’s connected to community issues.  The mass mobilization is designed to educate and prepare community members to use their voices during...
Read More