New Citizens' Redistricting Commission Launches in Ohio to Spotlight Community Needs

COLUMBUS, OH — Today, a new multiracial commission of top Ohio leaders announced the launch of the Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Commission (OCRC). This nonpartisan and highly diverse commission will hold public hearings in a wide range of communities to provide robust public input throughout Ohio’s map-drawing process.

“This past week, we witnessed an attempt by Statehouse leadership to shorten the redistricting process and decrease opportunities for public input. This new citizens’ commission will help hold the map drawers accountable to ensure no one can silence Ohioans during the redistricting process,“ said former State Representative Kathleen Clyde.

The OCRC aims to:

  1. Model a thorough and robust public engagement process for Ohio’s official redistricting commission,
  2. Develop and demonstrate citizen-derived principles of redistricting, and
  3. Draw unity maps based on community input and feedback. OCRC’s work will culminate in mapmaking recommendations and a report that includes model unity maps, which will be submitted as public testimony in the official redistricting process.

The project is co-sponsored by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), Ohio State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) of Ohio. The Commission will partner with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University and MGGG Redistricting Lab at Tufts University for data collection, analysis and community mapping.

“Whether you’re in Akron, Toledo, or Cincinnati, gerrymandering harms all of our communities. The Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Commission will ensure the people’s voices are heard during this critical redistricting process,” said Ohio Organizing Collaborative Policy and Advocacy Director, Jeniece Brock. “This commission will engage the most marginalized communities to make sure they provide their input. All Ohioans deserve a say in how their districts are drawn and who gets to represent them.”

The OCRC is composed of academics, political party officials, community representatives, and others from across the state. It will be chaired by former State Rep. Kathleen Clyde and Greg Moore of the Promise of Democracy Foundation. The Ohio Organizing Collaborative’s Policy and Advocacy Director, Jeniece Brock, will serve as the commission’s secretary.

Commission members will include:

Barbara Sykes Former state representative, Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OBLC) Foundation President & CEO

Tom Roberts Former state senator, President of the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP

Andre Washington President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) Ohio Chapter

Katy Shanahan All On The Line Ohio State Director

Kathleen Clyde Former state representative

Greg Moore Promise of Democracy Foundation

Jeniece Brock Health Scientist, Policy & Advocacy Director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative

Sam Gresham Chair of Common Cause Ohio

Akii Butler Ohio Student Association

Dr. Richard Gunther Retired professor

Chris Tavenor Ohio Environmental Council

Dr. Lis Regula Professor and LGBTQ activist

Jeremy Blake Newark City Council member, Equality Ohio board member

Dr. Ellen Greene Bush Clinical Psychologist

Alan Bannister Ohio political professional, former Ohio statewide political director for Joe Biden

Amina Barhumi Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR-Ohio

Additional members may be added to the commission in the coming days.

“The OCRC is made up of a broad, diverse cross section of Ohioans from across the state who support a fair redistricting process. We are looking forward to giving the citizens who voted to reform the redistricting process in Ohio the opportunity to finally have their voice heard,” said Greg Moore, OCRC co-chairperson.

The OCRC’s activities will include hosting public hearings for community input, collecting publicly available data for mapmaking, and supporting public education on redistricting.

The Commission will hold public hearings on the redistricting process on every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 6:00 pm EDT from May 2021 through September 2021.

The public and the press will be encouraged to attend these hearings — which will be virtual — to ensure widespread public awareness of and attention to Ohio’s redistricting process. For more information, please visit www.mapohio.org.

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The Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Commission (OCRC) is an independent, non-partisan commission made up of volunteer members. Commission members will include academics, political party officials, community representatives, and others from across the state. The Commission’s activities include: hosting public hearings for community input, collecting publicly available data for mapmaking, and supporting public education on redistricting. The work of the commission will be culminated into a report including recommendations and a unity map(s), which will be submitted as public testimony in the official redistricting process.