'It is discrimination by the pen.' Advocates worry Brookhaven's redistricting proposal could weaken vote from Black and brown communities
Some advocates are concerned proposed changes to the Town of Brookhaven's council districts could weaken the minority vote.
The council district maps have to change because populations shifted when the census was counted in 2020.
One of the districts will get larger while the other will get smaller.
Districts 2 and 6 are the ones that need to change. However, District 4, which contains some predominantly Black and brown communities would extend northeast into Ridge, a mostly white community.
That would cause the vote for those communities to be weakened, according to some in the area.
"It is discrimination by the pen," says Brookhaven Town NAACP President Georgette Grier-Key.
She says the two areas are completely different if you look at the socio-economics, which is the classic case for gerrymandering. Grier-Key says District 2 should be larger and District 6 should be smaller.
"We don't want council districts based on race - we want council districts based on communities," Grier-Key says.
The town is pushing against that criticism.
A Brookhaven town spokesperson says the redistricting is a fair, open and transparent process that unifies many neighborhoods that have been split by previous plans.
In a statement, the town spokesperson wrote, "The map before the town board on Thursday makes no changes for more than 90% of residents...The redistricting process conducted by Brookhaven was fair, open and transparent, with more than a dozen public hearings..."
It is possible that the town council will vote on the proposed districts on Thursday. The board has until Dec. 15 to choose a new map and those boundaries will remain in effect for the next decade.