Fresno Redistricting Coalition Calls for Language Accessibility in Fresno County Redistricting Process
Fresno has an obligation to constituents to facilitate language justice in order to fulfill redistricting responsibilities and committing to language accessibility is one of many steps that Fresno County must immediately take to establish a fair and equitable redistricting process.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just recently warned the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the Fresno County Redistricting Advisory Commission that their misunderstanding of their responsibilities to, “achieve fair and effective representation for all citizens,” could lead to incumbent protection and pave the way for other partisan political outcomes. The ACLU strongly recommended for Fresno County to take stock of Communities of Interest (COI) and to keep COIs together in order to protect the power of their vote. Language justice, therefore, is even more critical in Fresno County where over 45% of the population speak a language other than English.
Language accessibility and language justice is imperative to ensuring a fair and equitable redistricting process in accordance with the California Constitution. Fresno residents have the right to be able to participate in every step of redistricting in the language that allows them the greatest opportunity to understand, interact and correspond in the language in which they feel they can best communicate.
It is not enough to offer the bare minimum semblance of language compliance such as translated documents - especially when these often lack competent translations. For example, at the onset of redistricting meetings, the Spanish language flyers announcing a redistricting meeting included the wrong address. This error would not have occurred if Fresno County had a language inclusive framework that equally prioritized materials in every language, not just the materials made in the most dominant one.
Providing resources, information, notifications, interpretation services, as well as establishing inclusive language practices will allow residents to exercise their autonomy and exert their power as we move forward with the redistricting process. When we eliminate language barriers, we reduce systemic oppression as well as barriers to engagement that rest on the notion of the supremacy of one language.
The Fresno Redistricting Coalition is comprised of civic engagement, civil rights, and community-based organizations rooted in Fresno that are committed to advocating for transparency, accountability, and inclusion in the redistricting process. Coalition partners believe every single resident deserves equal representation in government, and are working to ensure that the residents are heard and get the representation they deserve.