African Americans Concerned About Redistricting
Posted April 7, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — North Carolina Central's law school sponsored a concerned students' forum to discuss state redistricting.
The students are concerned about the effect that the redistricting issue will have on African American voters.
"We're puzzled because all the facts are showing that blacks are losing ground when it comes to economics, education, so now, why this," Minister Curtis Gatewood said.
Some law students at North Carolina Central University said redistricting is a conspiracy to minimize political participation by African Americans.
"It's been disappointing because I think that everyone has the right to be apart of the political process," law student Sonya Allen-James said. "I see it as an effort to write African Americans out of the that process, and without participation, we're without power."
A three-panel judge ruled Monday, that North Carolina must redraw its 12th Congressional district because it is currently drawn solely on race.
The decision has outraged some African Americans who support Congressman Mel Watt. Some believe that loosing the 12th District is a move to silence the Black voice and choice.
Demond Richardson, another law student, said, "It shows how legislation is becoming more callous toward minority concerns."
"I think it breeds cynicism towards the electoral process," Sen. Frank Ballance said. "I think that the guys took an opportunity to serve the government and to be better at it, and to have a government that is truly reflective of the make up of the people of North Carolina, which is what we ought to have."
The law students also said that they are concerned that if the 12th Congressional District is redrawn, then it will set a precedent for the same thing to happen in the 1st District where Congresswoman Eva Clayton is the representative.