New York City is getting a snapshot about its Black community. The Black Equity Alliance and the New York Urban League presented “The State of Black New York City 2007” report Thursday at the JP Morgan building. The nearly 200-page report explains statistics about population, health, housing, employment, education and other issues.
Officials from both organizations say the report is to help the city understand the disparities that exist among Blacks in New York City and to devise solutions to those problems.
An ensuing panel discussion, led by Dr. Billy Jones of the Black Equity Alliance and Darwin Davis of the New York Urban League, opened the floor in terms of tackling the issues at hand.
“Putting this report together has been a challenging and rewarding experience,” said Jones. “We all thought that doing a current analysis of Black New York City was very important. It is more difficult for people to refute the numbers than to refute words.”
The report is also aimed at serving Black New Yorkers by instructing them on what they can do individually to address some of the concerns. Each chapter includes a list of recommendations outlining ways to improve problems.
Davis stressed that it has been nearly seven years since a report of this sort and magnitude has been published. He added that the New York Urban League now plans to publish a State of Black New York City Report every five years, pinpointing relative achievements between each of those years.
“We want to distribute this free of charge to the media, elected officials, nonprofit leaders and others,” said Davis. “This is not a one day event its a kickoff for years to come.”
According to Davis, the New York Urban League is following the lead of other Urban League chapters across the country, including Orlando, Philadelphia, Memphis and Indianapolis. The State of Black New York City will contribute its findings to the organization’s State of Black America report.
More than 12 authors contributed their time and research to the NYC report including college professors, religious leaders, attorneys and educators who conducted research on topics specific to their fields of work.
Eddie Ellis, an instructor at Medgar Evers College, wrote a chapter about criminal justice in NYC and its relation to Blacks. Ellis himself was formerly incarcerated and hopes that the report will be used to help law enforcement better understand Black life and reduce police brutality.
He said, “I did my research from the prospective of people who spent time in prison. When people read this they will understand the police mentality against Blacks in the city. With this report they (police) can understand racial dynamics.”
Renowned educator Dr. Adelaide Sanford compiled information for the chapter about education in New York City. In her findings, she discusses the significant rate of Blacks who drop out of school.
“Education in our society is fundamental to survival,” she said. “[The report] should be used not only for discussion but also to implement a change in policy.”