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Asian Wave Alliance Urges the City Council to Revert to the July Map for Brooklyn’s Asian District

While Asian Wave Alliance (AWA) is pleased to see the preservation of the Asian-majority district in Brooklyn in the approved map sent to City Council, we express disappointment that our plea for keeping Sunset Park’s 8th Avenue corridor whole did not even get a discussion during the two-day deliberation. AWA led the submission of over 4000 comments, nearly a third of all submissions on D43 alone.

The 8th Avenue section has the highest concentration of Asians and they will be divided between district 38 (D38) and district 43 (D43). The southern appendage of D38 is a clear cannibalization of the Asian community, and should instead be kept whole with D43. By capturing the Asian community in Sunset Park, Asians are 32% of D38. Our Asian community there has little in common with the socio-economic or cultural values of the Hispanic and White that dominates D38, and will therefore be deprioritized at best, and likely ignored. By swapping the density of Asians in Sunset Park with Bensonhurst, the resulting Asian composition of the approved D43 map is 3% lower than the July preliminary map. So both in population mass and in geographic lines, the Districting Commission approved map is inferior to the version from July.

As noted in our prior testimonies to the Districting Commission, 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 communities in Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. We ask the City Council to request adding 3rd to 5th Ave between 52nd to 64th St to D43 as this is a fast growing area of mostly Chinese residents.

Finally, we see that the creation of the Asian district has required adjustments to all adjacent districts. It is unfair that 3000 of our neighbors in Dyker Heights would have to drive over the Verrazzano Bridge and pay $16 to meet with their councilmember in Staten Island where the other 98% of the district resides. Lastly, we can’t help but notice the forced joining of Bay Ridge with Coney Island through a one-block corridor in Dyker Heights. This oddly shaped district looks like a Frankenstein of communities that have little in common and splinters marginalized communities, particularly ones in the southern section.

We urge the City Council to consider our requests and send the map back to the Districting Commission with the comments to include all of our considerations.

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