Michigan residents comment at public hearing for redistricting maps in Detroit

Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:55:39-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Concerns for Michigan's draft of the congressional and legislative maps are being heard this afternoon in Downtown Detroit.

This is the first of five public hearings.

One of the big issues continues to be how the draft maps don't represent people of color.

A Detroit native and mother of 3, Denise Robinson is speaking up for East Side. She says these maps don’t represent her community.

"We have libraries that are closed, we have schools that are closed. The playgrounds are overgrown. But in the Pointes and Harper Woods, they have shopping they have buses; they have all of that’s not what we identify with. We identify with Highland Park and Hamtramck. Those are our people," says Denise Robinson.

Denise believes if the current draft maps get approved Black voters will have no voice in the legislative system.

"I want to be able to say this representative has my best interest, and my best interest is our children. And clean areas and fresh food," says Denise Robinson.

At present Michigan has 17 majority-black districts. But, in the 10 proposed maps revealed by the commission last week, only one district would have a voting-age population of more than 50 percent African-American.

Douglas Clark, one of the commissioners, says if approved, the unprecedented maps will spread black votes into the suburbs as well.

"The African American citizens in Detroit have an opportunity to elect in every district. So there is partisan fairness in every district," says Douglas Clark, MICRC commissioner.

The is the first time, the map-drawing process is being handled by an independent citizens commission, not politicians

The next public hearing will take place in Lansing on October 21st, followed by Grand Rapids on October 22nd, and in Gaylord on October 27th.

Meanwhile, the commission plans to vote Nov. 5 on maps and, following a 45-day comment period, adopt final maps by late December.