Nonprofit coalition will work to get underrepresented communities involved in MI redistricting

Posted at 5:58 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 05:58:59-05

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Nonprofit Association said it is working with a coalition to get underrepresented communities in Michigan involved in the redistricting process.

The MNA will work with several groups across the state to help promote racial equity as the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission meets throughout the year to redraw the state's political lines.

There will be training and resources to help communities of color and other communities of interest involved in the process. Communities of Interest are groups that share economic interests or cultural and historical characteristics. It not only means race and ethnicity but also school districts, economic opportunity zones and more.

“We are mobilizing nonprofits, to transparently achieve fair and impartial maps for Michigan, specifically to promote racial equity so that communities of color have a voice and participate in important decision-making processes that happen at the local, state, and federal levels,” MNA Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives Mariana Martinez said. “The establishment of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission represents a positive change in the way Michigan’s legislative district maps are drawn.”

In 2018, Michigan voters decided to put the redrawing of Michigan congressional lines in the hands of a 13-member independent commission that consists of four Democrats, four Republicans and five Independents.

The coalition will consist of 20 different nonprofit organizations, representing communities in Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids.

“If our community realizes and understands that they have equal access, more people will be motivated to vote and to remain politically engaged,” Norman Clement, the founder & executive director of Detroit Change Initiative, said.

In all, there will be $550,000 in grants from two foundations to help in the initiative. Each nonprofit organization will get $12,000 to help get their community involved in the redistricting process.