FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–September 14, 2020
Power Coalition Hosts Census Week, Voting Mass Meeting & Redistricting Academies Amid Voting Lawsuit Hearings
While a federal judge was holding hearings last week on our lawsuit over Louisiana’s November and December election plan, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice continued to fight for people power outside the courtroom as well. We spent the week promoting the importance of completing the 2020 Census, hosting a series of redistricting academies, and teaming up with partners to educate and engage voters and get them ready to turn out this fall.
NEW ORLEANS, LA | September 14, 2020—Last week, as our team at the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) was tracking the hearings on our lawsuit (Harding v. Edwards) over Louisiana’s election plans for this fall, we were also fighting to engage and educate Louisianans on several other important issues. Meanwhile, Judge Shelly Dick’s decision on Harding v. Edwards is expected to come down within the next couple of days.
On Wednesday, our Executive Director Ashley Shelton and Count Me In Campaign Coordinator Janea Jamison were joined by Governor John Bel Edwards, Judy Reese Morse of Urban League of Louisiana, Dr. Michael McClanahan of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, State Rep. Jason Hughes, and others to lead a discussion on the 2020 Census.
The Census count determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funds are distributed for things like schools, roads, healthcare, and disaster relief and recovery. Every Louisianan who goes uncounted costs the state more than $2,200. Census data is also used to determine political redistricting, which will take place next year, and only happens once every decade.
Later that evening, Ashley joined a mass meeting moderated by Raymond Jetson, of MetroMorphosis, to discuss what’s at stake in the elections this fall. Other members of the panel included State Reps. Ted James and Royce Duplessis, and community leader Sibal Holt. The discussion was wide-ranging, and is worth a full watch, but the primary focus was that these elections are personal. Our votes will decide our own quality of life and the quality of life in our communities at large, and they will even decide whether those lives get to be lived at all.
We also spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday co-hosting redistricting training academies with our friends from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The three-day training sessions–there was one “track” each morning and one in the afternoon–provided deep dives into redistricting law, history, mapping, organizing, communications, and other aspects of the process. Our goal was to prepare dozens of Louisianans to take part in the redistricting process next year, and to go out and teach their communities about this critical issue.
Moving forward, as we await Judge Shelly Dick’s decision on the lawsuit, we are building out a partnership with Stacey Abrams’s Census turnout organization, Fair Count, with an added emphasis on the Census’s importance to disaster relief and recovery. We’re looking forward to partnering with them on their virtual bus tour to make sure as many people complete the Census as possible.
The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice works to build voice and power in traditionally ignored communities. We are a coalition of groups from across Louisiana whose mission is to organize in impacted communities, educate and turn out voters, and fight for policies that create a more equitable and just system in Louisiana.
Who: Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Urban League of Louisiana, Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, MetroMorphosis, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Fair Count, Louisiana State Reps. Ted James, Royce Duplessis, and Jason Hughes
What: Power Coalition continues to work to improve Census completion rates, educate and engage voters, and teach Louisianans about redistricting, while following our lawsuit on Louisiana’s election plan through the courts
When: September 14, 2020
Ashley Shelton, Executive Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (225) 802-2435, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Robins-Brown, Communications Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (504) 256-8196, email@example.com