For centuries, the idea of fair and equal representation has always favored white affluent communities, in the process, hurting low-income communities of color.

Over the next month, the Santa Barbara Unified School District will be lobbied to select redistricting maps for the first time in its history. This is an opportunity to create a pathway to equal representation. Future Leaders of America, in partnership with CAUSE, recently published their own map: Equity SBUSD. The map arranges the district into five regions that can fairly create minority majority districts and give people of color a fair opportunity at electing their candidate of choosing as mandated by the California Voting Rights Act. The Board of Trustees, has an opportunity to right the wrongs by favoring a map with five districts that fairly appropriate minority majority districts.

However, it is no surprise that a five-member district has been antagonized by right-wing groups. In a recent opinion piece published by the Independent, Rosanne Crawford argues that seven districts will pave the way for “neighborhood schools” and close the academic achievement gap. This analysis is completely wrong and misinformed.

Although veiled as a way to address the “academic achievement gap”, it is no more than right-wing tactics used across the nation. Moreover, it does not equate to equity nor is it going to address the academic achievement gap.

By dividing the district into seven regions, the opportunity to create a minority majority district fade. All the seven district maps originally displayed on SBUSD’s website unfairly disenfranchised low-income neighborhoods. For example, the maps containing seven districts, coupled white affluent neighborhoods (La Mesa) with low-income immigrant neighborhoods (the Westside). These types of maps only hurt low-income, Latinx neighborhoods’ opportunity at selecting their own candidate of choosing. Seven-district maps only pave the way for rich, affluent, and white communities to override the selection of low-income neighborhoods. In short, these seven-district maps are classist and discriminatory toward low-income, Latinx communities.

We implore the Board of Trustees to dismiss the seven-district map and consider the SBUSD Equity Map.

Gloria Soto, Executive Director, Future Leaders of America
Maricela Morales, Executive Director, CAUSE
Arcenio Lopez, Executive Director, MICOP


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