- Impact of Segregation
What the task force had in mind: Recognize the significant role that segregation and racialization have played in our current opportunity narrative and commit to becoming a more inclusive, fair and just community
It has been recently reported by Pew Research that African Americans, overall, earn about 60% of the compensation of whites in America. Further the wealth of African Americans is about 6% of that of Whites. The reason for the wealth disparity can be traced back to the middle of the 20th century when blacks were unable to gain access to or own property to the extend that white families were. This is akin to playing the board game Monopoly and joining the game after all the properties have been sold and likely developed, resulting in limited or no options for late arrivals to accumulate wealth through property ownership.
What are we doing to address segregation in our services and programs? Our LHCC mission has been to provide program services to low-income community residents from predominantly immigrant and refugee communities. Admittedly, this is not an area of primary concern or focus for LHCC, as we fortunately do not encounter a high degree of discrimination or segregation issues among elementary school children. Over the last 24 months, we have made a concerted effort to reach across all ethnicities and include other minorities. We have found that the challenges that black families face are no less than those of other minorities. We have been promoting equality among all peoples for many years. The theme of our 2017 summer literacy and enrichment camp is racial equality and that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We believe that there is only one race. The human race. We will continue to stress that we are all descendants of the divine creator who loves each and every one of his children. We should therefore look beyond cultural, race and socio-economic biases and treat everyone as equal.
One or more stories demonstrating positive results in this area: Gentrification has impacted the apartment communities where we have operated our programs across the inner city since inception. Segregation is apparent in the manner in which property companies handle residents on the low socio economic scale, and especially where they do not have papers. While rents increase, their willingness to address maintenance issues decreases, resulting in high levels of transition in favor of young professionals willing to pay the higher rents.
At one particular multi-ethnic community, where we have developed relationships with predominantly Hispanic children and their parents, we encountered just as many African American children, who were in a similar position. One parent at home, and most often with no father figure present. That parent working seven days a week. We sought to engage these children on weekends with community sports events. As our relationships grew, we extended an invitation to the parents to engage with our staff and to provide consent for LHCC to assist their children with after-school programs. Our programs have always welcomed families of every nation, tribe and tongue, so to speak, and we love the diversity that this creates. At our 2016 summer camp, we had children from over 18 nations from across the globe, including Asia, Arica, Central and South America, Europe as well as the USA. This summer, our enrichment program theme is centered on loving our neighbors and addressing the topic of race relations, and specifically teaching our children that we should treat one another with dignity, as equals, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, social status or affluence.
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