Leaders of Color Fight for Equitable Voting Maps in Louisiana

February 23, 2024

In January 2024, the Louisiana state legislature approved a new congressional voting map that includes two majority-Black districts. This recent challenge of drawing representative voting maps dates back to June 2022, when a federal court struck down the existing voting map for violating the Voting Rights Act. The court declared that the maps presented in 2022 illegally diluted Black voting power, and ordered the creation of a second majority-Black district. 

State Representative and Leaders of Color alum Vanessa Caston LaFleur sat down with us to take us behind the scenes of the voting map challenge. 

Voting maps play a big role in our elections. How do inequitable voting districts impact the people in Louisiana?

Inequitable districts act as a deterrent to voting. It creates voter apathy. When voters can't identify with the person representing them, they lack energy for voting. So, inequitable voting districts lead to lower voter turnout. A connection with the public servant tasked with representing the needs of a particular district is important.

How has your work impacted the push for fair voting districts?

As a member of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, we partnered with the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, and individual voters to provide Black voters with an opportunity to elect their candidate of choice in a newly drawn second congressional district. Throughout the legislative process we built a record that has withstood judicial challenges.

What's next on the horizon for Louisiana? What are you advocating for to continue to fight for fair representation in Louisiana?

The next battlefield is for fair representation in the Supreme Court and Legislative Districts.

Why is it important for Leaders of Color to be involved in decisions like these?

Leaders of Color must be involved because we are each other's magnitude and bond. We are each other's harvest. We are each other's business.

Check out Vanessa’s full interview: 

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