Diversity is our Strength!

Our Belief: Washington State’s 9th Congressional District is the most diverse district in our state, and it should be preserved as such in the coming 2021 redistricting considerations.

According to the redistricting timeline published by the Washington Secretary of State’s office,
a redistricting commission has been formed in January 2021 and is currently taking testimony from the community.

Washington is in the middle of the 2021 redistricting process, reflecting King County’s massive population growth thanks to the recent tech boom – details of which will soon be revealed in the 2020 census. It is critical that the redistricting preserves the cultural diversity and majority-BIPOC nature of the 9th Congressional district.

The redistricting will be based on the 2020 census. The primary aim of redistricting is to redistribute the population so that each state legislative and each congressional district has roughly the same population. Other legal requirements of the redistricting process include two key provisions that – in theory – make Washington’s redistricting immune from partisan gerrymandering. State legislative and congressional district boundaries must be drawn to:

  • Comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
  • Make sure that, to the extent possible, boundaries of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities that have common interests are respected, and their division minimized.

The redistricting commission will recommend new legislative and congressional district maps to the state legislature by November 15, 2021. The legislature can then adopt or amend the recommended maps.

The 9th” as some of us affectionately call it, is the only congressional district in the entire state with a non-white majority.

The ninth congressional district spans the I-5 corridor south from the heart of Seattle. It starts with the traditional African American hub of Central District, stretches west to the International District and south through the 98118 zip code – one of the nation’s most language-diverse, according to the 2010 census – and Beacon Hill, with its tight clusters of Asian American immigrant families.

The city of SeaTac is another example of racial, language, and income diversity with its large immigrant population working in the service industry centered around our airport.

Further east, the district encompasses south King County towns of Renton, Kent, and Auburn, as well as unincorporated areas such as Skyway, all of them home to many working-class residents, including many people of color who have been priced out of Seattle over the past two decades.

It ends in Des Moines and Federal Way, at the south end of King County, with their mix of high-end waterfront properties and affordable condos and apartments. For some reason, the district also includes the very northern tip of Tacoma’s port area.

The district also includes more affluent towns of Mercer Island, Bellevue – with its own share of diversity – and Newcastle, as well as Seattle’s Madison Park and Seward Park neighborhoods, along Lake Washington.

“The 9th” as some of us affectionately call it, is the only congressional district in the entire state with a non-white majority. It is critical for the redistricting process to maintain the 9th as the state’s only majority people of color congressional district. Community members have actively participating in this process via Redistricting Justice for Washington and have come up with an excellent, well-thought out proposal for meeting this goal — one that we encourage the redistricting commission to adopt or take into account

Therefore …

We, residents of Washington’s 9th congressional district and allied organizations, are concerned that we may lose the only majority-BIPOC district in our state if the redistricting commission and the state legislature do not prioritize this critical criterion. We are therefore proactively calling on the 2021 Washington State Redistricting Commission to pay special attention to the unique characteristics of the 9th congressional district, to ensure that Washington does not lose its one majority-BIPOC congressional district. In fact, it is critical that we enhance the district’s diversity, to protect its majority-BIPOC status against further gentrification that is expected over the next decade.

NameOrganizationCity or
Neighborhood
Comments
Organizations
Latino Community FundSeattle, WAhttps://www.latinocommunityfund.org/
Fuse WashingtonSeattle, WAhttps://www.fusewashington.org/
Fix Democracy FirstSeattle, WAhttps://www.fixdemocracyfirst.org/
Casa LatinaCentral Area
Seattle, WA
Building political power for communities of
color is part of our mission at Casa Latina.
https://casa-latina.org/
More Equitable Democracy ActionSeattle, WAwww.equitabledemocracy.org/redistricting
Planned Parenthood Alliance AdvocatesWAhttps://www.ppallianceadvocates.org
Washington Community AllianceSeattle, WAhttps://wacommunityalliance.org/
Redistricting Justice for WashingtonWA statewidehttps://www.redistrictingjusticewa.org/
Asian Counseling and Referral Service Seattle, WA https://acrs.org/
Individuals
Girmay ZahilayKing County Council(*)https://www.electgirmay.com/
Rev. Angela YingBethany United Church of Christ(*)Beacon Hill
Seattle, WA
Aram FalsafiColumbia City
Seattle, WA
This is very important to me!
Jay ConradSeattle, WA
Lucy GitauFirm Outreach/Northwest
Kenyan Community
(*)Kent, WA
Alma ChaconCAFE: The Community for The
Advancement of Family Education
(*)Wenatchee, WA
Daniel GilmanVeterans for Peace(*)Seattle, WA
Robby SternPuget Sound Advocates for
Retirement Action (PSARA)
(*)Columbia City
Seattle, WA
Sean CaseSeattle DSA(*)Central District
Seattle, WA
Confidence OrjiUrban League of
Metropolitan Seattle
(*)Seattle, WAPOC need adequate representation.
Daniel JonesUrban League of
Metropolitan Seattle
(*)Seattle, WA 98178It’s vitally important to continue trying to rectify
200+ years of slavery and oppression. We need
to maintain the 9th!
Elvira HernandezUrban League of
Metropolitan Seattle
(*)Seattle, WAEquality in all aspect is very important to me.

Barbara BengtssonSeattle, WAThe preservation of the demographic make
up of the 9th district is important to me
because it protects against inequity in the
legislative process.
Jade JostSouth Lake Union
Seattle, WA
Chris LeeHillman City
Seattle, WA
As the only BIPOC-majority congressional
district in the state of WA, we must preserve
the diversity that this district represents to
ensure that these voices are heard through
our electoral system.
Deepa BhandaruBeacon Hill
Seattle, WA
Cassa HanonLeague of Women Voters
Seattle King County
(*)Renton, WAI would like to keep our majority minority
district and advocate for creating more
in Washington.
Faye PeairsEnumclaw, WALet’s help level the playing field.
Do your part to help equality.
Aaron ParkerBeacon Hill
Seattle, WA
Super important to preserve this status to
ensure equitable democratic representation
for our neighbors.
Phil RuddColumbia City
Seattle, WA
Carolyn DraperRenton, WA
Lindsey HandColumbia City
Seattle, WA
Tiffany J.Kent, WAThe state of Washington is not Georgia or
Florida. We should not be engaging in
underhanded, covert attempts to subvert
black and brown voices in an already faulty
and highly dubious electoral system.
Afeworki GhebreiyesusRefugee Women’s Alliance(*)Beacon Hill
Seattle, WA
(*) Organization listed for identification purposes only