Published: Feb. 11, 2022
By: Margaret DeLaney, Piper Hutchinson and Allison Kadlubar, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — Sparks flew between lawmakers and high school students at a House redistricting committee hearing Wednesday.
A group of teenagers trekked from Shreveport, missing a day of class, to testify in front of the powerful House and Governmental Affairs Committee against a Republican redistricting bill that would not increase Black representation in the Louisiana House.
Kingson Wills, Sabrina Huynh and Ryan Wilkinson took the stand together to speak out against what they called racial gerrymandering. They were met with pushback from Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, the chairman of the committee.
Stefanski pursued a tough line of questioning against the trio, first asking them to identify a district on a proposed House map that had been gerrymandered and to tell him where it was.
Wilkinson identified House District 23 as one such district. Under the proposal put forward by House leaders, the Natchitoches-based majority Black district would be broken up and absorbed by mostly white districts nearby to accommodate plans for a new majority-minority district in New Orleans.
Stefanski pushed back on the claim, as his proposal did not still have House District 23 in northwest Louisiana.
“Oh yeah, because y’all gerrymandered it,” Wilkinson retorted.
Read more at Shreveport Times