New Jersey’s Women and Minorities deserve a voice at the Redistricting Table
National Organization for Women of New Jersey (NOW-NJ) is disappointed that once again women and minorities are to be tokenized and left out of New Jersey’s legislative redistricting process. Despite calls by NOW-NJ and other organizations to move the needle on gender parity on the 2021 Legislative Apportionment Commission, the composition of this year’s commission is a major step backwards for equal representation.
The 2011 apportionment commission included three women in the group of eleven, while this year’s political party picks resulted in just two. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court was presented with an opportunity to rise to the moment; to correct that injustice by choosing a woman as the Independent Member on the Commission. The announcement that that important role will instead be filled by a white male (as in every other previous Legislative Apportionment Commission) is frustrating.
Legislative redistricting is undertaken as a measure to ensure adequate representation following the decennial census. The 2020 census revealed that women make up more than 51% of the population of our state and that our minority communities are growing exponentially. Less than half (47.1%) of New Jerseyans identify as being white-only and yet we are now faced with a commission composed of nine men and only two women (and only two people of color) who are responsible for drawing a legislative map that will quite literally shape New Jersey politics for the coming decade.
With such a heady task at hand, we were hopeful that the Chief Justice understood the need for representation on this Commission and that he would make a bold choice signaling a commitment to diversity and inclusion. His choice yesterday is not only indefensible, it reminds us that we must continue the fight against the inertia of the status quo.
About National Organization for Women of New Jersey (NOW-NJ)
The purpose of NOW New Jersey is to take action through intersectional, anti-racist grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.
For more information about NOW-NJ PAC and NOW-NJ, please visit www.nownj.org.
Download the press release here.