Rochester’s RASE Commission collecting community input before February deadline

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —The City of Rochester’s Commission on Racial and Structural Equity is 3 months into its work, and halfway to its deadline for creating recommendations to address issues of racial inequity in Monroe County.

Members of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) have split into nine working groups, focusing on things like mental health, criminal justice, and policing.

“Groups are trying every conceivable way to make certain that that get the opinion of the people that matter,” said William Johnson, RASE co-chair and former Rochester Mayor.

The RASE commission was formed in June to develop local policies that address equitable access for communities of color.  

Commission co-chairs like Dr. Muhammad Shafiq oversee three of the working groups, which finalized their priority areas last month.

“For example, limited availability of high quality of mental health and addiction services for people of color and low-income people, ” Shafiq said. “This was brought up almost by everyone.”

Now the commission is focusing on community engagement, which includes forums and outreach events to gather the data that will form the commission’s report.

“The primary focus and work for the teams really at this stage is as described before the community engagement pieces so we are actively promoting the involvement and input from the community,” RASE co-chair Arline Santiago said.

“The purpose of these community engagements is to really vet the priorities that they have tentatively identified to ensure that we are in-sync with the community’s views around these issues,” Johnson said.

The RASE Commission was given a 6-month goal to report on recommended changes for local laws and policies. Leaders say they are on target to meet the deadline of February 10.

The commission is holding a health care community forum, and plans to hold more events into the new year, which can be found here.

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