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Data shows African Americans, Latinos continue to be underserved in Rochester region

Ann Johnson is the executive director of ACT Rochester.
photo provided by Ann Johnson
Ann Johnson is the executive director of ACT Rochester.


ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation released a reporton Thursday detailing racial and ethnic disparities in the nine-county greater Rochester region. 

Among the findings: African American children in the region are almost four times more likely than white children to grow up poor, while Latino children are three times as likely as their white peers. That’s higher than state and national averages.

The data also shows that African American and Latino students are struggling far more with math and language arts in the third grade than their white peers are. 

Rochester, like other cities in the U.S., has worse school segregation than when Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, said Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the foundation.

“We are not providing a fair chance for all our residents and that’s a policy decision," Leonard said. "It’s also supported by practices.”

She added that the pandemic period has allowed for more conversations about racial disparities and segregations than before.

“I am hopeful that that new awareness will change the way in which we expect things should be done and will be done,” said Leonard.

The Hard Facts 2020 report includes data-informed actions that people and community leaders can take to respond to racial inequities, including integrative approaches like affordable suburban housing to address high concentrations of poverty in the city.

“People of color are doing worse than their peers who are looked at (from) a national level, and that just doesn’t make sense,” said Ann Johnson, executive director of ACT Rochester. “That means that we have something we need to fix locally.”

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.
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