A rectangular grid with cells in a rainbow of colors. A faint black line meanders across the grid, like the lines delineating district boundaries.

Panel Discussion | When Redistricting Becomes Gerrymandering: How Can Districts Be Drawn Equitably?

With the 2020 Census coming to a close, the redistricting process will begin anew for every state in the country. How can districts be determined in a fair and unbiased process so that partisan gerrymandering is eliminated?

Join us via Zoom for an examination of the redistricting process, how gerrymandering can be detected through mathematical models, and a discussion of what constitutes a fair, non-partisan determination of district boundaries.

Panelists include Julia Gomez, attorney at ACLU Southern California; M. Andre Parvenu, 2010 California Citizens Redistricting Commissioner; Dr. Ellen Veomett, Professor of Mathematics at Saint Mary’s College of California; and artist Lordy Rodriguez.

 

 

 

A horizontal rectangular grid with variously colored cells. The top six rows are a dark rainbow. The next eight rows are a spectrum of dark and light rainbow colors, and the bottom nine rows are pastel, slightly grey rainbow colors. Two black lines meander across the grid. One, thin, black, and more jagged looks like a cartographic feature. The other is thicker, black, with more obtuse angles and two circles at either end.

Lordy Rodriguez: Polar Democracy

Twenty-four years ago, Lordy Rodriguez (b. 1976, Quezon City, Philippines) started using a visual lexicon of map-based forms as metaphors for defining an individual’s position within a culture or society. For his sixth solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery, Rodriguez utilizes this ever-developing, cartography-inspired vocabulary to ruminate on issues about the immutable appeal of democracy and its very precarious existence.

Like many of us, Rodriguez is a news junky— fixated on unfolding stories of unequal access to resources; the violent quelling of peaceful demonstrations in Hong Kong, Minsk and Washington D.C.; and governments that murder journalists, poison political rivals or enact laws to disenfranchise their citizenry. The work in this exhibition — two new bodies of large-scale drawings — focuses on the bravery inherent in demanding a place at the table.

The first series memorializes historic and contemporary efforts at peaceful demonstration. These include the 1930 Salt March, led by Mohandas Gandhi challenging British rule over India; the Langa March of 1960, in which between 30,000 and 50,000 demonstrators marched in opposition to apartheid; the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery; and recent pro-democracy protests against Mainland China’s oppression in Hong Kong. In Rodriguez’s cartographic lexicon, these routes are “code-switched” in candy-colored references to race and oppression.

The second group of drawings represents efforts by those in power to manipulate the boundaries of voting districts in order to favor a political party or racial group, thereby diminishing the voting power and political voice of others. While researching these gerrymandered districts, his very personal “ah-ha moment” came when he realized many of them were districts in which members of his large and far-flung, Filipino-American family live — states like Texas and Florida with large immigrant populations.The pieces in this series represent some of the most egregious examples of voter suppression as well as districts in which activists and courts have compelled boundaries to be re-drawn in ways that are more equitable.

 

 

 

 

A collage of imagery related to the fight for womens right to vote. In the foreground, a woman with brown eyes and brown hair looks out at the viewer. Behind her, black and white images of Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and other Black women activists layer over newspaper clippings with articles about voting rights.

What Story Would the Unintended Beneficiaries Tell (WSWUBT)

To be a woman or femme-identified/identifiable person and engage in politics can feel, at times, like a rebellious act. Since the founding of the United States of America, they have not been included, until recently, as part of “We the people”. To engage with politics as a member of any historically marginalized group is a different experience. One which has not enjoyed any exploration and examination at the same level as the “politics as usual groups”.

WSWUBT is a group exhibition that encourages artists to provide their perspective, to peel back the layers of white-washed history and examine the 19th Amendment, a non inclusive historical moment, through new perspectives that can not be ignored or erased.

On Aug. 18th, 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified. It stated, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. This in effect gave every female citizen the right to vote under the Constitution, although in reality it only gave a privileged few white females that right. The right to vote and to have one’s voice heard and counted has always been held in an almost sacred regard since the founding of our government. Our country’s belief that the governed should have a say in how they are governed is one that has not proven to be inclusive of all citizens or people.

In actual practice we as a country have denied equal opportunities to vote to persons historically categorized as marginalized groups, especially women of color. Even with the passage of the 19th Amendment women of color were not allowed to vote until decades after this amendment was ratified. Indigenous Americans were not granted citizenship and the right to vote until 1947. Asian American women did not win the vote until the passage of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952. African – and Latinx-Americans did not gain the explicit right to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Currently all members of the African-American and Indigenous communities are fighting for fair and equal access to ballot boxes.

What Stories Would the Unintended Beneficiaries Tell, takes a new look at equity, equality, our collective history, and the erasure of marginalized history. CoCA seeks to ascribe new perspectives and visual meanings to restructuring of the Amendment through visual space supporting open transparency in thought and opportunities for creative actions.

Featured artists: Monyee Chau, Bonnie Hopper, Ashante Kindlé, Lisette Morales, Charly ‘Carlos’ Palmer, and Carletta Carrington Wilson