Defining YOUR Denver

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If your community had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?

This was the question I posed as our icebreaker during the recent Redistricting Town Halls I held in September and October, focusing on different neighborhoods throughout City Council District 9. Music is the perfect entry point for expressing what we understand and feel about our communities. Everyone’s responses to the question felt so personal: “Aire.” “We the People.” “On a Sunday Afternoon.” “Mi Gente.” We collected all of the suggestions, plus more from other community members, into an #EastsideForever playlist that you can listen to here: bit.ly/eastsideforever.

Redistricting happens once every 10 years after the release of the U.S. Census data, and we are in the thick of the Congressional and state legislative processes right now. Locally, the new maps for our city council districts won’t be drawn until 2022, but the process for getting resident input is already underway. So I want to hear from you!

Too often, redistricting is an insider’s game, but it has big consequences for our everyday lives in Denver: These new maps will play a big role in determining your community’s representation at each level of government for the next 10 years. Every week, city council makes decisions that affect your life — land use and zoning, local roads and sidewalks, public safety, air quality and water pollution, housing and homelessness policy, the city budget and so much more.

That’s why I’m inviting all of you to get involved with each step of Denver’s redistricting process, starting now until next spring when city council votes on the new maps. The first step starts with you — defining YOUR Denver by mapping your communities of interest. My favorite definition for the phrase, “community of interest,” is: a way for a community to tell its own story about what neighbors share in common, and what makes it unique when compared to surrounding communities.

Here’s how you can tell that story and submit your community maps to city council.

First, take a moment to think about these questions:

• What are some examples of goals or values that members of your community have in common?

• Does your neighborhood or community share certain celebrations or traditions, such as street festivals, parades or block parties?

• What is the history of how your community came together?

• What are some of the city-level policy issues facing your community?

Next, go online to Representable.org (a direct link for YOUR Denver is bit.ly/d9redistricting) and create your login name and password. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be walked through a series of prompts that will further help you think about how you define your community and neighborhood. After you complete those steps, you’ll be ready to draw your map on that platform!

All the Representable.org maps that get submitted by December will inform the first drafts of our new city council district maps. So it’s time to get started — put on YOUR favorite tunes about YOUR community, and get started drawing your Representable map!

Candi CdeBaca represents District 9 on Denver City Council. She can be reached at district9@denvergov.org or 720-337-7709.

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