Erie No Longer on List of Worst Cities for African Americans to Live
It's been one year since the city of Erie topped an online publication's list of "Worst Cities in America for African Americans." That website, 24-7 Wall Street, issued its 2018 list, and Erie is no longer on it.
So what does that mean? And does work still need to be done when it comes to diversity and racism in Erie?
“The list came out this year and I was kind of surprised and taken aback that we weren't on the list,” said Shantel Hilliard, Executive Director of the Booker T. Washington Center.
Hilliard was surprised how the city of Erie went from the worst city in the country, to not on the list at all. But he says Erie’s complete absence from the 2018 list doesn't mean there isn't still work to be done, “I'm so glad that it sparked a conversation and we're working in that direction but I don't think anything hasn't been done on a significant type of role as of yet, but we're working towards that,” said Hilliard.
“I would ask, what changed? What are the changes that were instituted into the city that took it off the list?” That’s a good question coming from Cynthia Muhammad, of Erie.
The online publication says it based the rankings on things like the minority unemployment rate and median income.
Our calls to the Editor-In-Chief and CEO of the online publication for more explanation, went unanswered.
But Erie Mayor Joe Schember says the city has taken initiatives to address some of the issues raised by last year's article, “I feel like we still have a lot of work to do but I think we took some huge initial first steps towards really making Erie more open, more welcoming, and just celebrating our diversity,” said Schember.
And despite this latest article, that work will continue, as will the conversations.
Erie's set to take part in the nationwide initiative, The People's Supper, “It's designed to bring representatives from every part of Erie's diverse community together, over meals, to get to know each other, to talk about what the issues are and what are the solutions, how do we make Erie better and more welcoming,” said Schember.
Community members like Hilliard believe there is progress in the conversation, which will hopefully make an impact, “There has to be some strong conversation in regards to diversity and racism and things of that nature, it has to be had, and I think we're going in the right direction,” said Hilliard.
Erie News Now Jonathan Skinner recently took an in-depth look into what's been done to address issues raised by last year's article.