ACCORD Statement on EDNY Proposed Maps


March 6, 2012


For more information, contact:

James Hong


[email protected]



Earlier than expected, the magistrate tasked by the “Special Master” panel of federal judges to redraw Congressional lines released a proposal this morning.  U.S. Congress is the highest level of government that is affected by redistricting.  These lines will be adopted unless the majorities of the Senate and Assembly can come to an agreement and pass their own version of the Congressional maps that Cuomo will sign. 

While there are some exceptions, for most Asian American communities of interest in New York City, the proposal is positive.  In fact, there seems to be a strong acknowledgement of the Unity Map drawn by civil rights groups, including the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and supported by ACCORD.  ACCORD finds that this proposal, on the whole, is a clear improvement from the current Congressional lines – especially in Queens, where voter dilution in Northeast Queens has hampered the ability of our communities to have a voice in Congressional elections.

ACCORD has the following specific comments on significant areas for the Asian American community:


·         The proposed Congressional District (CD) 6, if adopted, would be a Congressional district with the highest concentration of Asian Americans ever created.  At nearly 40% of the district (37.9%), the Asian American community of Northeast Queens would have major influence in a Congressional seat.

·         This district is nearly identical to District 5 recommended in the Unity Map, drafted by AALDEF and endorsed by ACCORD (see

·         The significant voter dilution of Asian American voters in Northeast Queens between the current CD 5 and CD 9 (Flushing, Bayside, Auburndale, Queensboro Hills, Fresh Meadows and Oakland Gardens) is corrected by this proposal.

·         This proposed district also keeps together the neighborhoods of Woodside and Jackson Heights in CD 14.

·         This proposal could be improved if Bellerose could be connected with Queens.

MANHATTAN AND BROOKLYN (including Manhattan’s Chinatown and Sunset Park):

·         ACCORD is pleased that CD 7 recognizes (as does the current CD 12) there is a community of common interest between Sunset Park and Manhattan’s Chinatown, and keeps these together in one district.

·         This district is very similar to the proposed District 12 in the Unity Map.


The Asian American Community Coalition On Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD) is a non-partisan coalition of organizations and individuals committed to advancing the opportunities of Asian Pacific American and minority communities to meaningfully participate in the political process.  ACCORD recognizes that redistricting plays a pivotal and fundamental role in these opportunities, and supports redistricting plans that keep together communities of interest that exist in and around ethnic neighborhoods across New York.

Times Union Editorial: Shame on you, legislators

Times Union Editorial: Shame on you, legislators

AALDEF ED on Why Redistricting Matters to APAs

AALDEF ED on Why Redistricting Matters to APAs

Epoch Times (9/8/11) Reports on Redistricting Hearing in Queens

Epoch Times (9/8/11) Reports on Redistricting Hearing in Queens

Q&A: Why Redistricting Matters to APAs

Last month, AABANY announced that it joined ACCORD, the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy.  We reached out to James Hong, Civic Participation Coordinator at MinKwon Center for Community Action, the lead organization behind ACCORD, to tell us more about what ACCORD is all about.


MinKwon (James Hong): We are a group committed to APA and minority communities’ opportunity to meaningfully participate in the political process.  Such opportunity is fundamentally changed by the results of redistricting, which completely re-organizes boundaries of districts, and hence creates the population that will be voting in elections. 

A: Why does redistricting matter to the APA community in New York?

M: Redistricting matters to all communities, ethnic and otherwise.  However, APA communities – and the enclaves in which they live – face a history of having their neighborhoods gerrymandered and thus having their voters split into multiple districts.

APAs living in ethnic enclaves are routinely divided into several adjacent populations/districts so that they constitute only a minority of those districts, when they could easily be the majority population of a single district.  Therefore, hundreds of thousands of APA voters often cannot exert the power of their numbers, even though – and this is the real point here – numbers are the foundation of democratic government, where the will of the many is supposed to be expressed in the political process.

I believe one reflection of this is that despite the APA population being 13% in NYC – meaning 1 out of 8 people is an Asian American – there is not a single State Senator or Congressman that is APA (overall, only 1 in 50 of the elected officials representing the city’s various districts are APA), and less than one-quarter of 1% of public spending goes toward Asian or Asian-led social service organizations.  While ACCORD is not promoting APA candidates, these discrepancies are revealing.

A: How can the APA community learn more about redistricting?

M: This guide has been a good reference for me:

And if you aren’t aware of what your own district looks like, use the NYC GIS to see how the lines are currently drawn (click “Show Additional Data on Map” module on right side of page):

For the legally-minded, this page focuses on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its relevance for redistricting:

A: What is ACCORD doing now to educate the APA community about this issue?

M: We are holding educational sessions at various community organizations, in English, Chinese and Korean.  If you or your organization are interested in hosting a meeting, please contact ACCORD at [email protected] or James Hong at the MinKwon Center for Community Action (718-460-5600).  We can come out and do a 15-minute presentation to your group and have Q&A.

A: What is ACCORD doing now to advance the cause of redistricting for the APA community?

M: Each of the ACCORD member organizations plans to give public testimony in the upcoming public hearings on redistricting.  This is the first of two rounds of hearings, with each borough having one hearing each round.  We will be focusing on bringing both testimony and constituents to the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan hearings, for both rounds.  All first-round hearings begin at 10am and the locations/dates are as follows: 

  • Queens is on Wednesday, September 7th at Queens Borough Hall, Meeting Room 213-1&2, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens; 
  • Brooklyn is on Tuesday, September 20th at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn; 
  • Manhattan is on Wednesday, September 21st, in the Assembly Hearing Room at 250 Broadway in Manhattan.

If you would like to get more involved with ACCORD, let us know at [email protected].