ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced the creation of the new Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE). This local commission is the first of its kind in the region.
Warren and Bello made the announcement Thursday morning at the Rundel Memorial Library Atrium on South Avenue in the City of Rochester.
Made of 21 community members, the committee will be overseen by two co-chairs; former Rochester Mayor William Johnson Jr. and Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, Nazareth College interfaith studies director.
The commission will review the state of education, health care, business development and other social services, as well as submit policies to both the city and county governments to address racial inequalities.
The mayor says the time is now to organize, act, and mobilize to fix problems that have persisted for generations.
“The government of our yesterday created these problems and I believe it is up to us, each and every one of us in government today and tomorrow, to partner with our private sectors to fix it,” Warren said. “We must shape our children’s future so that everyone — black, brown, white, rich, middle class, or poor — can fully live the promise of tomorrow, the promise of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and I am excited to do the work and lead this work with two exceptional co-chairs.”
African American Residents living in Monroe County have higher poverty, infant mortality, and high school drop out rates, the county executive saying the community as a whole cannot prosper when so many are held back.
“We cannot be thriving as a county when 50% of our African American residents live in poverty,” Bello said. “How can we move forward economically when countywide, just 70% of African Americans graduate high school compared to 92% of white students? When structural racism and institutional bias thwart any of our citizens, our community as a whole cannot thrive.”
The mayor said that a major focus of the newly-formed committee will be addressing poverty.
“Our goal is to look at how we deliver services to our communities so that everyone can be lifted up out of poverty,” Warren said. “We’re committed to looking at every sector of our government and making sure that this commission doesn’t last for years, but literally will have a draft plan of action, to us hopefully within 120 days. For us it’s really about doing the work.”
Community members interested in serving on the committee are encouraged to email their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 10.