For Immediate Release: March 11, 2022
Baton Rouge, LA– Wednesday evening, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the decision to veto the congressional redistricting map drawn by the Louisiana Legislature. Gov. Edwards stated the map did not add a second majority-minority district and did not meet federal law compliance requirements.
“I thank Governor Edwards for listening and taking a stand with the thousands of Louisianians that came out and participated in the entire redistricting process,” says Ashley Shelton, CEO of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “Countless voters engaged around redistricting, sharing extensive testimony on the importance of fair and equitable representation and the need for an additional majority-minority district given that 33 percent of the state’s population is Black. You [the people] helped us see this moment, and while it is a moment to celebrate we also know the fight is not over yet.”
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) worked over the past year and into 2022 to train local communities in the redistricting process. PCEJ’s three redistricting fellows helped to conduct six roadshow trainings where over 1,000 people were educated on equitable redistricting principles. The organization hosted five CROWD Redistricting Academies: two in 2020 and three in 202, training more than 300 people statewide. We worked with national and local organizations and mobilized the community throughout the redistricting process, allowing the community to engage with legislators as key moments occurred.
The Governor called for the Legislature to immediately work to draw a fair map that ensures Black voices are heard. The regular session opens on Monday, March 14, 2022 and legislators will have the opportunity to either stand in support of the Governor’s decision or attempt a veto override.
“The veto gives the Legislature the opportunity to stand on the right side of history and support a fair and inclusive democracy,” Shelton said. “ All people deserve elected officials who will advocate for them.”
The Governor pocket vetoed maps for the State House of Representatives, State Senate, and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) that do not increase the number of districts where minority voters can elect candidates of their choosing. These maps will go into effect Monday without the Governor’s signature.
“We will continue to fight for and advocate for the people. The full battle was not won,” Shelton said, “We have more work to do. We cannot allow unfair maps to become law. Voters of color deserve an equal opportunity.”
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) is dedicated to supporting and coordinating civic and voter engagement across Louisiana. We are guided by values of justice and racial equity and work with our partners to build an integrated civic engagement strategy that amplifies the voices of those who have historically been ignored, and organize them into a unified movement. PCEJ focuses on building power in traditionally marginalized communities, particularly Black and Brown communities, by equipping people with the knowledge and information they need to find their voice and learn where and when to use it.