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Perinton woman calling for focus on diversity in town: ‘They’ve been too silent about our black lives’

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PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) — The town of Perinton is taking feedback from residents to build its comprehensive plan. One woman who lives in the town is speaking out about serious concerns about a lack of diversity.

Tiffany Porter has lived in the village of Fairport within the town of Perinton since she was a little girl. She said she wants to see her town become more inclusive and for people living in the suburbs to care about the issues black people face every day.

Porter said her experiences dealing with racism her whole life led her to start the Fairport Coalition for Justice and Equity and another group, Being Black in the ‘Burbs. She’s been holding protests in Perinton calling for black liberation.

“My goal is to make some noise out here. I feel like Perinton has been too silent when it comes to our black lives,” Porter said.

She said they’ve gotten positive responses, but not everyone has been accepting of her message.

“A person drove by and said, ‘eff Black Lives Matter,’ with a taser out and my son saw that.”

Porter said she’s talked to the Fairport mayor, who’s been vocal about focusing on diversifying Fairport in their 10 year comprehensive plan. Porter’s concern is with what she calls silence from many Perinton leaders.

Ciaran Hanna is the Perinton town supervisor. He said diversity is an issue he’s willing to discuss and that he gives Porter credit for her protests. He said some people in town may seem unsupportive because they’re not used to seeing protests in Perinton.

“They’re probably not used to seeing that. I think over the last six months or so a lot has gone on in this country there’s been a lot of the protests have unfortunately taken a turn for the worst and I think people are sensitive to that,” Hanna said. “We don’t have any tolerance for racism in this town.”

Some of Porter’s specific goals include bringing affordable housing to town and requiring anti-racist curriculum in schools. Town board member Meredith Stockman-Broadbent said the board has discussed making the town more affordable in general.

“I think when we plan with affordability the whole community benefits. So adding things that there’s no barrier to participation,” she said.

The town will be accepting surveys for the comprehensive plan for another couple of weeks then they’ll have more meetings for people to express what they want to see in the town in the next 10 years.

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