BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — With the latest census data showing people of color are now a majority in Kern County, the Dolores Huerta Foundation along with other community organizations are urging the Kern County Board of Supervisors to reconsider their redistricting map choice.
The board voted on the map on November 16th, but because the deadline to cement that decision is December 15, the Dolores Huerta Foundation on Thursday held a rally to advocate for the map they created and submitted
Thursday many organizations from across the county gave their support for this map version.
"There is no urgent care. There is not anything. The appointments to see a doctor in Cal City - which is about 3 to 4 doctors - it is about months and months out. So it won’t be until the middle of next year that someone will be able to get an appointment for an urgent need," explained Tammy Tyler, a parent advocate with Dolores Huerta Foundation in California City.
it is that lack of basic resources in her hometown that led Tyler to fight for the Equitable Coalition Map.
Lori Pesante, who is the director of civic engagement and government relations for the Dolores Huerta Foundation said the map the board chose, which was Draft Map A3, does not reflect at all the input they received from the underserved communities they said they engaged with through town halls and surveys.
"It is a lot more impactful when all of the different communities are coming together. And that is why the map is so important. Because you have to put all of those little communities together into one so that they can all come together to organize and get their needs met from their representative and the representative has to come from that community."
Those who oppose the Equity Collision Map said they feel drawing lines based on ethnicity segregates the community. But Pesante believes that is not the case.
"What happens though when you pack a bunch of protected class members into one district and don’t let them have any kind of voting power in any other district. How is that fair? Whose vote really counts in a community where that is happening in the maps? We know whose vote has counted in the past, we see it reflected in the leadership."
Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta said having representatives that reflect the community is crucial.
"People have a voice and they can get representatives on the boards that are actually going to do something for the community and stop this ignoring of our community that has cost so many lives in terms of the health issues like COVID-19. The resources we need for schools, etc. And so this is a very very important issue that is going to affect us for the next 10 years."
Huerta added there is still time for the board to change their mind and instead adopt the map they presented. If the board does not change their decision, they will continue to help with other registration to increase representation on the board.
The foundation urges everyone regardless of opinion to stay involved in the redistricting process not just at the county level but also school and city level.
The Delores Huerta Foundation is inviting the community to “Redistricting March for Our Future” on December 4th. Community groups and allies from Kern, Tulare, Kings, Antelope Valley, and Fresno counties are "coming together to demand fair maps, improved public services, and more COVID rescue funds for our Central Valley communities."
The event will begin at 11:00 am in front of Arte Americas, 1630 Van Ness Ave., Fresno and end with a rally at Courthouse Park.