MARGOT SPINDOLA —
For the first time in Washington’s history, the newly elected Redistricting commission won’t all be white. But what remains to be seen is if this new representation will right the wrongs of the past for people of color.
Historically, the interests of communities of color have been discarded in political horse trading during the redistricting process. In 2011, Democrats allowed Republicans to split voters of color between the 14th and 15th legislative districts, in exchange for a more politically secure district for then Democratic Congressman Denny Heck. Today, the majority-Latino 15th district has an electorate that is 60% white and a state Senator best known for claiming people of color are more likely to commit crimes.
Our bi-partisan redistricting system is better than most in the country. But that’s a low bar. Our system continues to prioritize partisan interests over public interests, and political operatives on both sides leave communities of color behind as political pawns.
The new commission has a chance to honor Native sovereignty and create districts that secure civic equality for communities of color. The first step is a commitment from the commissioners; but the next is all of us getting involved and making our voices heard.