We, the Ward 7 Democrats, the Ward 7 State Board of Education representative, leaders of the Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, 7F) and leaders of the Ward 7 Civic Associations, support restoring and unifying the Kingman Park community to Ward 7 and reject the proposed “final” redistricting map released by the District of Columbia’s (DC) Council’s Redistricting Sub-Committee. As proposed, the map does not promote fair representation across all 8 Wards and disproportionately impacts residents of Ward 7. This statement provides a path forward to revise the proposed map in a way that is consistent with the principles and values set forth by the Sub-Committee to reflect a more equitable District. Unify Kingman Park in Ward 7 There are well-accepted and legally informed principles involved in developing a map that can withstand legal challenges. However, this map disregards a key one: the compact district principle. As proposed, Kingman Park exists as an island. On October 23rd at the Ward 7 Hearing on Redistricting, various community leaders and key stakeholders from Ward 7 testified in front of the Sub-Committee to express the importance of diversifying the Ward by further expanding into Ward 6. The overall consensus amongst those who testified was to make Kingman Park whole. While the Sub-Committee claims that moving Kingman Park into Ward 6 promotes diversity, in reality the move does little to promote diversity in Ward 6 and ignores the great need to increase diversity in Ward 7. Further, the proposed map reduces representation of African Americans, Asians and other racial minorities in Ward 6 overall. Importantly, the subcommittee’s map only shifts Kingman Park as a “peninsula” in Ward 7 to being a “peninsula” in Ward 6. There needs to be a connection on the southern boundary (C Street, NE) of Kingman Park to address common concerns and goals within Ward 7. The proposed Sub-Committee map creates an unnecessary burden of having to coordinate across two Wards. Voting Strength and Power Between 2010 and 2020, Ward 7 saw the smallest population growth (~4500 residents). The Sub-Committee’s proposed map does little to avoid Ward 7 repeating the pattern of weaker growth in the next ten years and exacerbates the problem by only expanding Ward 7’s population to 81,997 – only 114 points above the minimum population threshold of 81,883. We have attached a map that provides a more equitable redistricting plan. The map makes Kingman Park whole by restoring it to Ward 7. It also incorporates the Rosedale neighborhood and uses 15th street, between Pennsylvania and Benning, as a natural Ward boundary. The map increases Ward 7’s population to a healthy 88,010 residents. We believe the attached map ensures equal representation, brings ethnic diversity to Ward 7 and keeps a community of interest (Kingman Park) together. We strongly urge all members of the DC Council’s Redistricting Sub-Committee and the Council as a whole, to reject the proposed redistricting map and consider the alternative map provided by the leaders of Ward 7. To stand in solidarity or express concerns before the Sub-Committee votes today at 3pm and before the DC Council votes on December 7th, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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