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"Anyone got a minute to talk about gerrymandering?" Laura Moser, a candidate running for the 7th Congressional District seat in Texas, asked her Twitter followers on Dec. 3, 2017.

Candidate Laura Moser. Photo courtesy of Laura Moser for Congress.

Gerrymandering may sound like a silly term coined in an episode of "Seinfeld," but as Moser explained, it's anything but.


In a fiery tweet thread following her initial question, Moser spelled out why gerrymandering is, to be frank, the absolute worst.

Moser's district in Houston — like many across the U.S. — has been heavily gerrymandered. That's why its voting boundaries look like this:

To be sure, as Moser pointed out, there are even more bizarrely shaped districts across the country. Take this one in Chicago, for example.

Then there's the entire state of North Carolina, which gerrymandering's turned into the weirdest blue-and-red jigsaw puzzle imaginable.

But Moser's own 7th District in Texas is still pretty bad.

Not every odd-looking boundary is suspicious, of course. Naturally formed borders like rivers may alter district boundaries a bit, Moser explained.

But when specific blocks within neighborhoods have been redrawn to conveniently slip into different districts? It makes you wonder, she tweeted, "Why ... is one block of Linkwood Drive excluded from the district?"

"Or here, in my neighborhood of West University: why are half of Pemberton and Fenwood in a different district?" she asked.

Like, honestly, Houstonians, what is happening with Jersey Village? As Moser pointed out, things there are getting "pretty baroque."

Nope, a drunk guy didn't map out the 7th District in Houston (or any of these other districts).

"If it seems like whoever drew these lines must have been drunk, think again: this is part of a very calculated campaign," Moser tweeted.

And race (read: racism) has a lot to do with it.

Gerrymandering has the potential to significantly dampen the political power of neighborhoods of color (or those that are poor or younger).

This is how it works:

Basically, gerrymandering is the manipulation of voting district boundaries by politicians to give their party an advantage on Election Day. In other words, politicians can quietly redraw district lines to consolidate or split up certain voting blocs — based on race, religion, socioeconomic status, education level, etc. — to favor their own candidacy or party.

Both parties are guilty of applying this trickery. But the GOP has held majorities across most state legislatures where district boundaries are decided since 2010, and they've abused this ethically challenged privilege far more than their Democrat counterparts.

Take Wisconsin, for example. After Republicans in control there redrew district lines in 2011 — packing left-leaning voters into certain areas when it was politically advantageous, then spreading them out when it wasn't — a court ruled the actions were an attempt to cement an electoral infrastructure favorable to the GOP.

The proof's in the pudding, after all: In the Wisconsin election held after the new district lines went into effect, Republicans won just 48.6% of votes for the state assembly, yet still earned a 60-to-39 seat majority.

The Supreme Court heard arguments for the case in October 2017. The court's decision will likely affect gerrymandering laws for decades to come.

In Houston, Moser argues, "minority" voters are being corralled into districts to give Republicans a larger advantage.

"But WE ARE THE MAJORITY. In Texas and in the nation," she wrote. "The majority of decent Americans who believes in fairness, in treating people with respect."

Her Twitter thread struck a chord with many voters concerned about how gerrymandering will affect votes in Houston — and the rest of the country. As of this writing, the thread has been retweeted nearly 17,000 times.

Moser credits the tweet's virality to people waking up to an increasingly rigged system.

"I hope we can start fighting for the most basic of principles, one that everyone, regardless of party or region, race or income, can agree on: every American should have an equal vote," she says. "If we want citizens to get involved in our democracy, we better make sure it really is a democracy."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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