Three years plus into her second term Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely A. Warren says now is the time to implement transforming policies and programs that will address and reverse historic inequity, racism, and a strategy to drive Rochester’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
With all this coming forth in her recent State of the City address, the mayor introduced her outlook for the city as the Equity & Recovery agenda.
“We must act now to address these disparities, and make sure the Rochester that emerges from the pandemic finally delivers the equity our citizens deserve,” Mayor Warren wrote in the document. “We must seize this opportunity to confront the lasting effects of slavery, legal segregation as well as institutionalized racism and structural inequality. We must recognize that this is the time for a new era of equity and recovery.”
The Equity and Recovery agenda focuses on parts of the city that struggles from structural and institutional racism.
“Putting that to the fore front but also showing through graph and design how this was intentionally done,” Mayor Warren said. “We talk about it before in theoretical terms but now here’s the evidence. Here’s the data and this is the reason why we are focusing on these particular areas. It is through all the things we have learned and until collectively we are together and acknowledge the damage and acknowledge the wrong that was done, you’re not going to repair it. It is why the Race Commission and other similar programs are part of getting to the root cause of what has happened in our community, which is based in racism."
Southwest Tribune: The residency requirement that mandate incoming hires to our police force to live in the city.
“What is the problem with living in the community that you police? What is the problem with developing and having a relationship with the people in the community? It is more about relation building and making sure you are able to have a different perspective. When you live in the community and you have to deal with people in a different way, it helps."
Southwest Tribune: In your State of the City address you coined the Housing First Trust Fund, which is as you stated- a self-perpetuating trust fund to direct revenue toward programs that promote home ownership and prevent the catastrophic consequences of evictions. How does this help people getting evicted today; especially during this pandemic?
"The Housing First Trust Fund because it is not a trust fund that has been established would not help us today. However, what we are doing for residents today, we have allocated about 4.5 million dollars of our CARE ACT budgeting to help with those that are facing eviction to be able to pay their back rent. We also have helped with legal representation, so everyone will be able to have a lawyer with them by their side as they go through the process in court. We have put over 3,800 new affordable housing units in the community, impacting 9,800 people. That is what happening today. Now if we are able to do this trust fund, it too will be able to help people in the future."
Southwest Tribune: If city school districts continue to graduate a majority of students that are not academically incline to be stewards of their community. Can your vision for this city come to fruition?
"That is why we talk about being able to work with the RCSD superintendent and pushing for community schools and the reason why we have opened up our recreational centers as learning rods and the reason why we worked with the city school district to provide over a million meals and we are continuing to do so. We can tear each other down or build each other up as partners. The new superintendent and I have been working closely together. Her team has been working with our team to try to implement those things that are necessary in moving our city and moving our community forward."
Southwest Tribune: What is you rallying charge for re-election?
Mayor Warren: "BELIEVE!"
Article by: Journalist Rodney Brown, executive editor of Brown Publishing LLC and Southwest Tribune Newspaper