Racial equity commission established in Irondequoit
The Irondequoit Town Board recently announced the creation of the Irondequoit Commission Advancing Racial Equity.
The citizen-led commission will advise the Town Board to ensure Irondequoit is a community where each individual is respected, valued and cherished regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or cultural identity.
“Now more than ever, it is vital that governments examine how their policies may perpetuate existing inequalities and take proactive steps toward establishing a more just and inclusive community,” Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley said. “As a town we have already taken recent proactive steps, such as requiring implicit bias training for all employees.”
Seeley announced the appointment of three co-chairs to lead the effort: Margaret Burns, a community volunteer with experience in the human services fields; Irondequoit Councilwoman Patrina Freeman; and Leslie Harvey, a foreclosure prevention outreach administrator at the Housing Council.
“I’m proud of the town of Irondequoit and my fellow board members for creating ICARE so that we can continue the conversation on racial justice and equity,” Freeman said. “Racism may not be as overt as it once was, but it is still a factor in the lives of people of color, our town and in our larger society. We can’t change the world or our country in one day, but we can begin that change by walking the walk right here in our own backyard, and I’m excited to do just that.”
“Growth cannot happen without self-examination,” Burns said. “I believe ICARE will help support the town to move toward a more inclusive future, by elevating both existing and new policies in a way that will promote racial justice and equity for all.”
“These are some very difficult times for us as a nation with racial unrest, racial inequities and police brutality, but I am hopeful for a better tomorrow,” Harvey said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the town of Irondequoit in this capacity and so proud that we, Supervisor Seeley, Councilwoman Freeman and town leadership are taking a bold stance against the ugliness of racism. We can make a huge difference in our town just by taking the opportunity to have some meaningful dialogue with our constituents.”
Burns, Freeman and Harvey will work with the Town Board to appoint 12 residents to serve as committee members and help spearhead the commission’s work. The resolution sets the expectation that the commission’s membership will consist of a majority of persons of color.
ICARE’s three committees will develop policies, programs and best practices to address economic opportunity and empowerment, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Each committee will have volunteer members. An interim report will be submitted to the Town Board in 2021.
ICARE is accepting applications to serve on the committee through Nov. 20. Any resident interested in working with ICARE is encouraged to complete the online interest survey (bit.ly/3kvwNeA). Physical copies of the survey are available at the reception desk of Town Hall, and can be returned there or mailed to Town of Irondequoit, Attn: ICARE, 1280 Titus Ave., Rochester, New York, 14617.
Interviews will be scheduled from Monday, Nov. 30 through Friday, Dec. 11.