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Locals respond after study lists NY-25 as second-worst place for African Americans

August 21, 2019 07:30 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A place where a lot of you might live has been named one of the worst places for African Americans.

A financial website, 24/7 Wall Street, ranked New York's 25th Congressional District as the second-worst place in the country for black people to live. 

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NY-25 is represented by Congressman Joe Morelle. This was a seat long held by the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter before her death.

Geographically, the district covers portions of Monroe County and all of the City of Rochester. 

"It's not shocking, it's not news really," Rochester resident Diamond Proctor said. "I'm black and I live in America and this is my reality."

The report looked at 2017 U.S. Census Data for poverty, homeownership, and unemployment. In this district, data shows 34.8% of black people live in poverty compared to 8.2% white people. Unemployment numbers show 15.1% of black people are unemployed compared to 4.7% of white people. Homeownership data shows 31.6% of black people own homes compared to 72.2% white people.

"That's really a problem, however, I believe Monroe County has a lot of promise," Rochester resident Nkechi Obieke said.

Morelle sent News10NBC a statement in response to the report. 

"Like many regions, Rochester faces a number of complex challenges," Morelle wrote. "Unfortunately, we have a long way to go in combating the structural racism and generational poverty that perpetuate these inequities. I am working every day to lead the fight for change and create the opportunity for everyone who calls our community home."

Jerome Underwood, CEO of Action for a Better Community says one way to begin to correct the disparity is for our leaders to focus on expanding educational opportunities.

"With your educational attainment allows you to get a more viable job, which allows you to have homeownership, which allows you to provide for your children," Underwood said. "More resources need to go to the weakest team. In this discussion, when we're talking about more resources, that's when it gets sticky. Some might say, you're talking about reallocation of resources and taking from the rich to giving to the poor? Maybe."

The biggest population of black people in NY-25 live in Monroe County within the City of Rochester.

News10NBC reached out to County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. She sent the following statement to News10NBC in response to the list.

"It is heartbreaking that the 25th Congressional District ranked so poorly on this list. I've always believed that we are one community of Monroe and that this must be a place where all can succeed and thrive. That's why we invest so much in job training programs that can help everyone get the skills they need to succeed in good-paying jobs that are open right here, right now in Monroe County. In fact, our groundbreaking LadderzUp training program has helped to connect more than 800 residents with new jobs in growing fields like advanced manufacturing, property management, healthcare, and more. Meanwhile, our comprehensive Paths to Empowerment program has helped over 3,000 local families move from welfare to work, self-sufficiency, and brighter futures. We are also trying to bring an Excel Center to Rochester, which would provide a real, evidence-based alternative to a GED certificate for adult learners who have dropped out of school. More work remains to be done, but I firmly believe that increased access to employment and education are the keys to equality, and those will continue to be my priorities for all residents moving forward."

News10NBC also reached out Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, but she declined to comment on the report.

“We all have a role to play in pushing in the same direction at the same time,” Underwood said. “Nobody should be standing on the sidelines.”

Credits

Kaci Jones

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