Asian Wave Alliance Urges the Districting Commission to Keep the Asian Community in Sunset Park Intact and Objects to Dyker Heights in Same District with Park Slope and Red Hook
Asian Wave Alliance is pleased to see that the new Asian-majority district in Brooklyn remains in the revised plan released last week, even though it was rejected by the Commission. Dr. Lisa Handley, the voting rights expert that the Commission invited to present on Sept 22, concluded that the new maps should “increase the number of districts that offer Asian voters – the fastest growing minority group in New York City – an opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.”
Support for the July Map
Upon further comparison of the preliminary map released on July 15 and the revised plan, rejected by the Commission on Sept 22, we favor the preliminary map. We believe the original July map aligns best with the integrity of the census data and is true to what we know as residents of this community. Those lines include the densest population of the Asian community in Sunset Park and capture much of the expanding growth of the Asian community in Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. We ask the Districting Commission to consider adding 3rd to 5th Ave between 52nd to 64th St in D43 as this is a fast growing area of mostly Chinese residents.
Critique of the September Map
While the revised plan (9/22) still includes the core blocks of 50-64th St from 6th Ave to 10th Ave. in Sunset Park, it cuts out the substantial Chinese community between 50th-39th St and 64th-73rd St., thus dividing the main 8th Avenue corridor. It is of utmost importance that the Chinese community in Sunset Park remains intact for the new Asian district.
Additionally, we are very concerned that Dyker Heights is now included in the winding new lines of D38. The growing Asian community in Dyker Heights shares nothing in common with those living in Park Slope and Red Hook. Chinese families moved into Dyker Heights over the past decade for its academically strong schools and moderate political values on public safety. Tacking Dyker Heights onto an oddly configured district with communities who are in direct opposition of the values will cancel our representation for the next decade.
As we’ve shared in our prior comments, the incumbent city councilmember of D38 does not represent the Asian community. Repeated calls and emails to her office regarding Asian community issues including homeless shelters, bike lanes, and drug injection sites were often ignored. We strongly protest the inclusion of Dyker Heights in D38.
It is clear to us that the revised plan was politically influenced by incumbents in South Brooklyn; those with the most to lose exerted their political will to keep their seats. While we understand the district lines will likely shift again to respond to and address concerns of our neighbors, we urge the Commission to remain true to a process that elevates the real voices of the Asian community. We have the utmost confidence that our participation in this process will ensure that the fair maps for our Asian community in South Brooklyn will prevail.