Irondequoit forms racial equity commission: ‘We need to take bold action’

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — The town of Irondequoit has become more diverse over the years and the supervisor and town board members are forming a commission to help make it a place welcoming and equitable to everyone who lives there. It’s called the Irondequoit Commission Advancing Racial Equity.

Supervisor Dave Seeley said when he was a kid, the number of people of color in Irondequoit was in the single digits. He said the most recent census shows between 20 to 25% of Irondequoit residents are people of color.

“If we’re really going to be a strong organization that represents our town that’s diverse and also is a diverse organization we need to start taking bold action, not just bold action that stands in the moment, bold action that has a sustainable impact,” Seeley said.

He said goals include diversifying the more than 300-person town workforce and implementing implicit bias training for all employees. The majority of the commission will be made up of people of color. Patrina Freeman is a councilwoman in Irondequoit and one of the three co-chairs on the commission.

“I want that population staff to look more like the community but also to meet specific needs of people of color, recognize their holidays, recognize their culture, and particularly I’m interested in eliminating the wealth gap between people of color and the dominant population,” Freeman said.

Freeman said we need to start irradiating racism in our community and this is an important step.

“We can’t necessarily do that in the world, in our country, or even New York State for that matter, but what we can do is we can do something right here right now in our town and our community and I believe ICARE is a great and intentional way to do that.”

The three co-chairs will appoint 12 Irondequoit residents to serve as committee members. They’ll be accepting applications until November 20, and anyone interested can apply here.

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