BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A group of local organizations are planning a Thursday evening rally at the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board (EBR Schools) Office just prior to the Board’s 5 p.m. Public Hearing and Adoption/Ratification meeting.
The rally will be led by Kaitlyn Joshua, an Organizer for ‘The Power Coalition or Equity and Justice’ (PCEJ), which is a coalition of community-based organizations who aim to increase civic engagement across Louisiana, with a focus on communities of color.
Joshua told BRProud that PCEJ members are collaborating with a few independent individuals from the community to plan the event.
Their goal is to change the minds of school board members who support the current proposed reapportionment plan, which is called SB Plan 22.
Reapportionment is the redistribution of representation in a legislative body, and every ten years, the school board draws from data obtained from an official census to redraw school board district lines.
David Tatman, EBRPSS Board President, said the goal of redistricting is “to make sure that your district involves things like communities of interest to make sure that the districts are set up so that you have adequate and appropriate representation.”
According to SB Plan 22, EBR would reduce its number of single-member districts from 12 to nine.
This plan, Joshua says, has been met with criticism by a significant number of locals.
Joshua told BRProud that many people believe a larger number of single-member districts would benefit Black communities within EBR.
She explained that in 2014, the Supreme Court precleared 11 as an approved number of single-member districts, which would allow for a racial proportionality.
So, PCEJ and its supporters say they hope the rally will change the minds of at least one board member who supports SB Plan 22.
Joshua told BRProud, “On April 7, education advocates and many members of the community showed up to the school board, asking for an 11 single-member district map. Until this day, we have never received clarity as to why the board voted for the worst possible map that provides for six Blacks and three Whites in a school system that is 71% Black.”
At this time, decisions regarding redistricting are in the hands of EBR School Board members, and the Board is expected to submit a redistricting plan to the Secretary of State before June 20.
BRProud reached out to the office of the school board members for a comment, and is currently awaiting a reply.
The rally will be held on Thursday, May 5 at 4 p.m. outside of the EBR School Board Office on Foster Dr.