A federal judge has ordered Miami City to stop using its district maps, which have been accused of being “racially gerrymandered,” and agree with the people to create a new map or one that complies with the US constitution, and now community groups are requesting residents for their input.
Judge K. Michael Moore ordered Miami’s administration last month to discard its map of the city’s five commission districts after plaintiffs who were represented by the ACLU of Florida argued that the city drew the map majorly on the basis of race.
The judge agreed with a report that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their allegation, based largely on comments from commissioners during public meetings.
The City appealed Judge Moore’s ruling on May 31 and requested his order not to be enforced pending the outcome of the appeal. Following a status conference with the judge on Friday, ACLU of Florida attorney Nicholas Warren said the judge had “indicated he would deny that motion”, but there have been no updates to the case docket to confirm that.
Community To Know More About The New Maps
The plaintiffs, which include advocacy groups Engage Miami and the Grove Rights and Community Equity (GRACE), created an idea for “logical” district shapes late last month. Their two proposed maps use natural boundaries such as the Miami River and major roadways as borders for the districts.
The groups scheduled a community forum on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. to show these maps to the community at Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church, in Coconut Grove.
Reverend Nathaniel Robinson III, the pastor at Greater St. Paul and a plaintiff in the case, spoke at the Friday press conference along with Warren. He spoke to the greater mission of the lawsuit, responding to “narratives” he said was being used to cast the case as a Coconut Grove-driven affair.
“The truth is that every citizen, every resident in the city of Miami deserves meaningful and equitable representation within our city limits. And so our case is not just about one community or one neighborhood. Our case was about the totality of the city of Miami and all of its residents,” Robinson said.
Miami City and the plaintiffs have been ordered to agree on a new map before June 23. If they can’t agree, Miami must submit its own map that complies with the U.S. Constitution by June 30.
“A non-racially gerrymandered map must be in place by Aug.1 to have enough time before the local elections in November”, Judge Moore said.