© 2021 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local and Statewide News

Community Members Testify Before State Redistricting Committee In Dayton Public Hearing

Dressed in all red, seven members of the Dayton Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority Inc. testify before the State Redistricting Committee on gerrymandering at a Sinclair Community College auditorium Tuesday morning. The public hearing was designed to hear community members' thoughts and concerns about Ohio's redistricting process.
Chris Welter
/
WYSO
Members of the Dayton Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority Inc. testify before the State Redistricting Committee on gerrymandering at Sinclair Community College Tuesday morning. The public hearing was designed to hear community members' thoughts and concerns about Ohio's redistricting process.

In 2018, Ohioans voted to make redistricting a more public process. That includes hosting nine public hearings all across the state. Community members packed an auditorium at Sinclair Community College on Tuesday for the Dayton hearing. With only four minutes each to speak, residents made their case to a panel of seven state representatives who sit on the redistricting committee.

This is what some of what they had to say.

JOY SCHWAAB: “I remember from my 1966 civics class in high school, they taught me that gerrymandering was wrong and that it was a ridiculous thing that was ridiculed for its political corruption that started in 1812. And I was shocked to realize in the past 10 years that my state was severely gerrymandered.”

DERRICK FOWARD: “What happened the last time in 2011 when the lines were drawn, they want to come down straight down to the heart in the gut of Dayton, Ohio. They want to come straight down Hoover Avenue and split the black vote, and in fact, we were you know, they were highly successful. As a black man, I need representation as black people, we need representation.”

NATHANIEL LATHY: “Both parties do not represent the people. That is the problem. And that is the issue, not this redistricting, redistricting, redistricting thing, this gerrymandering. And I think it's ridiculous to try to make it one tilted more toward the Democrats. And that's what this is an effort to do. Both parties are bad. We do not want a blue state. California and New York are laughing stocks. Why would you want to make it like that?”

GRACE DEAN: “I heard a lot of people talk about how they want everyone to reach across the aisle and work together. And so I almost believed it until the man back there was speaking and they all laughed at him. And that wasn't fair because everyone else got their time to speak up here and nobody laughed at them and everyone gave them the respect that they deserved until someone said something that they didn't agree with. So they don't want to be fair. They want an advantage.”

CALLIEA TELLEZ: “But if I were a young professional living in Columbus who has the privilege to drive here to Dayton, back to my hometown, because it is my job and one of the few people to talk to you today about the environmental racism your government perpetuates in Dayton, then that is a shameful illustration of this commission's attempt to be accountable to all Ohioans. The creation. The creation of fair and representative maps must center the critical voices of black and brown and low income Ohioans who experience more environmental, health and social injustices.”

TONI HOLMES: “Because growing up black in poverty, we are taught that politics don't matter for us. Things are going to happen to us no matter what. We are used to fighting. We are used to the struggle and we are used to surviving. But we are not knowledgeable about politics. All we get taught is how to go to college, hopefully, or get another job working our butts off. And we would never become on that level because it's not meant for us to be there.”

The committee must submit a state legislative map by September 1. They are hosting public hearings all this week.

More information can be found on redistricting.ohio.gov