The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has awarded a two-year $72,000 grant to the North Carolina Central University Department of Political Science to promote citizen involvement in North Carolina’s political redistricting process in 2021.
The HBCU Participatory Redistricting Project was developed to involve HBCU students and residents of adjacent communities in the redistricting of North Carolina’s Congressional seats and both houses of the General Assembly.
“In our classes, we teach students that everyday citizens are central to the development of public policy that is fair and responsive in its impact on individuals and families,” said Jarvis Hall, Ph.D., associate professor of political science. “This project will be focused on engaging voters who have become disengaged and helping others understand the value of their role in the political process.”
Redistricting in the United States occurs once each decade, following a national census. Once the 2020 census is complete, political boundaries will be updated to reflect increases or decreases in an area’s population, as well as changes in demographic characteristics, economic well-being, and other factors. In North Carolina, the General Assembly is charged with making needed alterations to boundaries that define political districts.
The North Carolina HBCU Participatory Redistricting Project is based on a partnership between NCCU, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funded the HBCU Participatory Redistricting Project to help equip students and community members with the means, knowledge and skills to democratize the redistricting process.
“Redistricting is important because it can determine which candidates are likely to win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the General Assembly,” Hall said. “As those individuals take office, they will be in charge of laws and policies for an indeterminate period of time going forward. So, it makes sense to have as much grassroots participation as possible in the redistricting process.”
While NCCU will be the hub, the project also will involve selected HBCUs from throughout the state, with priority given to public campuses.
For more information, contact project principal investigators, Dr. Jarvis Hall (919-530-7256, email@example.com) or Dr. Artemesia Stanberry (919-530-7255, firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Department of Political Science.