Mayor Lovely Warren and Chief Equity Officer Dr. Cephas Archie sat down with Minister Clifford Florence, Activists Howard Eagle, Clianda Yarde and Tocsin Magazine, to discuss The Commission of Racial and Structural Equity(RASE).
In June, Mayor Lovely A. Warren and County Executive Adam J. Bello announced that a group of 21 people would be formed to combat systemic racism. A news release published on the city’s website states, “We need to seize this moment and fundamentally change our government to lift up all people, specifically, our Black and Brown residents. By doing so, we will deliver equity and strengthen our entire community,” said Mayor Warren. “This Commission will be empowered to deliver to policies and legislation we can enact to ensure that we do more than simply police our community in a more humane manner. We must rethink, change and expand how government at all levels provides services to truly ensure every family and every child has full access to the American Dream.”
“This is an historic moment in Monroe County, and we will not let it pass without consequence,” Bello said. “We are here to make lasting changes to our systems that for far too long have perpetuated inequities that disproportionately affect people of color across our community. This commission is just one step toward rebuilding Monroe County as an actively anti-racist government that embraces diversity and inclusion.”
After the announcement, county residents were encouraged to apply if they were interested in participating. According to Mayor Warren, 8 government and law enforcement officials have been added to the 13 people selected from throughout Monroe county. The selection process was conducted by a committee of 15 people, who were divided into groups of 5 to review over 200 applicants, from that group, 60 people were contacted to be interviewed. Warren claimed, neither she or Bello had any influence over the final 13 people chosen.
However, it is unclear what qualifications were required within the selection of the 13 people listed as, Director of the Children’s Detention Center Catherine Thomas, attorney Danielle D. Ponder, Director of Strategic Marketing and Retail Development at RIT Denishea R. Ortiz, attorney Luis E. Ormaeche, refugee and psychologist Kim T. Nghiem, advocate Karen L. Elam, advocate Logan X. Brown, advocate Damond Wilson, former professor Eric Caine, advocate Aaron Anandarajah, advocate Sady Fischer, advocate Stephanie Townsend and advocate Marcus Dunn.