Once Its Victim, Jeffries Now Out to Support "Gerrymandering"

Assemblyman will speak at a special screening of the documentary film in Fort Greene on Aug. 18.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, knows a thing or two about the controversial practice of gerrymandering. 

Named for the process of redrawing legislative district lines based on political considerations, gerrymandering has claimed plenty of victims over the decades—including Jeffries himself, who plans to speak next week on a panel at a special screening of a documentary seeking to blow the cover off the infamously opaque redistricting arrangement.

And for Jeffries, it's personal.

In 2000, Jeffries challenged incumbent Roger Green in the 57th Assembly District primary, drawing a respectable 40 percent of the vote in a losing bid for the Democratic nomination. 

Two years later, the Prospect Heights Democrat found himself living two blocks outside the new lines of his district—a situation Jeffries attributed to the gerrymandering of District 57, which covers Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy and Park Slope.

Though Jeffries moved into the new lines of the 57th and eventually won the district in 2006, he is still a vocal opponent of gerrymandering in the State Legislature. Most recently, he called for an Independent Redistricting Panel to redraw the lines fairly.

The documentary, Gerrymandering: The Film, includes Jeffries as one of its subjects in an effort to expose what the filmmakers called "the most effective form of manipulating elections short of outright fraud."

The film will be shown on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill. Also in attendance at the panel discussion after the screening will be the film's director, Jeff Reichert, and the executive director of Common Cause NY, Susan Lerner.


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