You are here

Association for Neighbors Concerned for Latino Advancement (ANCLA), Legislative Testimony, Syracuse, 1991

On Demographic Research and Reapportionment of Syracuse by ANCLA

On Demographic Research and Reapportionment of Syracuse by ANCLA

Onondaga Historical Association, OHA_B2_287
Document Description
Carlos Lavezzari's "Testimony Submitted to the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment," Syracuse, New York, June 7, 1991.
When and in what city was this testimony given?
Why does ANCLA welcome the opportunity to give input to the commission?
What kind of growth has there been in the Latino population of Syracuse since 1980?
What ethnic Latino groups live in Syracuse?
What is ANCLA recommending?
Historical Challenges
Research the history of racial redistricting using the Resources listed below. Stage a debate between students representing both points of view regarding this policy.
Locate a map of the congressional districts in your community. Do they reflect the ethnic or racial population distribution?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: The Historical Challenge recommended above will give students experience with public speaking.
Math: Using the information the document gives regarding the latest census and the percentage of growth, figure out the numbers of Latinos living in Onondaga County, and also in Syracuse, prior to 1980.
Resources, New York State Archives Legacies Project, “An Anchor for Latino Grassroots Political Activity in Syracuse.” A document-based activity on the work of the ANCLA organization. Also check this site’s link to the history of Latinos in Syracuse for further information on the organization., New York State Library. "Selected Hispanic and Latino Websites.", Constitutional Rights Foundation, “Race and Representation”
Christopher M. Burke. The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court. Columbus: Ohio State University, 2000.
Bernard Grofman, Lisa Handley, and Richard G. Niemi. Minority Representation and the Quest for Voting Equality. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
David M. Hudson. Along Racial Lines: Consequences of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. New York: Peter Lang, 1998.
Robert Richie and Steven Hill. Reflecting All of Us: The Case for Proportional Representation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.


Historical Context
In 1989, a group of people formed the Association of Neighbors Concerned for Latino Advancement (ANCLA). The grassroots organization has been involved in a number of projects that strengthen and promote the health of the Latino community.  Carlos Lavezzari is an ANCLA member.

Redistricting (also known as gerrymandering) occurs at the federal, state, and local levels every ten years as a result of the federal census of the population.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its amendment in 1982 granted voters the right “to elect representatives of their choice,” without guaranteeing proportional representation.  That means that if Latinos form 40% of the population in a given area, they are not guaranteed that 40% of the political officeholders in that area will be Latino.  

In an attempt to increase the number of minority representatives, the U.S. Justice Department adopted a policy in the late 1980s of creating “minority-majority districts.”  These are districts where the minority group makes up the majority of the voting district, so this policy creates a greater likelihood that the elected official from that district will represent the minority population.  This type of redistricting procedure has been challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection requirement.  In 1995, Georgia’s Black-majority redistricting was ruled unconstitutional, and a similar ruling was handed down in a case against North Carolina in 1996.  ANCLA and other Latino political action groups are in favor of  “minority-majority” redistricting.
Essential Question
How do immigrant populations influence politics?
Check for Understanding
Identify the purpose of the testimony and evaluate the influence of this document on civic participation by new immigrants.