Latinos, Somalis want new Minneapolis ward boundaries

Members of Minneapolis' Latino community are criticizing a proposal to redraw the city's political boundaries.

They turned out Tuesday night at a public hearing and argued that the city should consolidate as much of the Latino population as possible in a single city council ward. That would increase the chances of electing a Latino member to the council.

Many members the city's East African population want the same thing, and both groups are fighting over some of the same territory.

Mariano Espinoza urged members of the city's Charter Commission to make a map that satisfies both immigrant communities.

"It's not about being Latinos or Somalis. It's about recognizing the demographic landscape that we have today in Minneapolis, which is about 60 percent white and 40 percent minority," Espinoza said.

A group representing the East African community in Minneapolis praised the latest proposed map. It creates a city council ward encompassing parts of Cedar-Riverside, Seward and Phillips neighborhoods where many members of the city's Somali community live.

"We came to America looking for new opportunities. This is a land of opportunities. This is where dreams come true. And we want to have someone that looks like us, that talks our language, to be elected some day. And this can be made possible if we all support this current map," Salma Hussein said.

The Charter Commission will approve the final redistricting plan on Monday.

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