Texas’ population is growing! It grew so much in the last decade, Texas got four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 election. Hispanic, African-American, and Asian communities account for roughly 80% of Texas’ population growth. The political voice of these nearly majority “minority” communities hasn’t gotten louder, it has been deliberately muted.
When the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature redrew district lines in 2011, their own party’s mainly Anglo representation in Congress increased by five districts, while the minority communities lost one.
This week, a federal court in San Antonio heard closing arguments in a trial investigating whether the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated on the basis of race when it redrew district lines in 2011. During the trial, witnesses testified that Greg Abbott’s Office of the Attorney General advised on and recommended adopting maps adopted by the Texas Legislature.
This finding of fact has previously been reached by a federal court in Washington, D.C. The D.C. District Court found “sufficient evidence to conclude that the Congressional Plan was motivated, at least in part, by discriminatory intent.” The court pointed out, “In the last four decades, Texas has found itself in court every redistricting cycle, and each time it has lost.” In the most recent trial in San Antonio, the Department of Justice again sided with plaintiffs fighting for the voice of Hispanic, Asian, and African-American citizens to be heard.
The San Antonio District Court ruling will be heard in the near future. But the fight for citizens to have a voice in who represents them at local, state, and federal levels of government must not stop with that ruling. All Texans, regardless of race, gender, economic stature, or even political party, must demand their voices be heard in the halls of government!
Elections matter. We have a voice. We have a vote. GO VOTE!