How Are the Black Children of Westchester?

On Monday, 21 September, Allison Lake will be participating in the AntiRacism Alliance discussion “Why Are Westchester Schools and Legal System Failing Black Children?” online. She will be joined by The Honorable Kathie Davidson, Chief Administrative Judge of the 9th Judicial District, and Dr. Edwin Quezada, Superintendent of the Yonkers School District. To register for the event, go to https://westchesterblackchildren.eventbrite.com.

Click here to download “The State of Westchester – Black Children and Youth Report.”

 Four years ago, WCA wrote these words in the LoHud/Journal News:

“In Westchester County, one of the richest and most educated counties in the nation, we see jaw-dropping inequality. There is evidence that race, location, and even gender, play too strong a role in a child’s success.  Despite our well-intentioned efforts, the playing field remains dangerously uneven, tripping even the most nimble children who are burdened by circumstances beyond their control, and undermining the success of those who are fortunate enough to find a patch of grass enough to stand on…. it is difficult to accept the success that you have when you feel the game’s been rigged.”

These words are still sickeningly relevant today.

The protests and uprising against police brutality, disparities in health, and much more underscore the appalling fact that the playing field continues to be dangerously uneven for people of color – particularly Black children.

The data trends we see underscore that despite good intentions and policy efforts over the past decades,  the social game that children must navigate is still stacked against children of color.    Our latest data publication “The State of Westchester – Black Children and Youth Report”, sponsored by the Anti-Racist Alliance and the Children’s Village, shows the continued inequality and disparity that haunts our children from birth to beyond.

Some highlights of The State of Westchester – Black Children & Youth Report include:

  • In Westchester County, Black infants have a mortality rate 4 times greater than white infants.
  • Black children make up 14% of Westchester’s child population, and yet represent 41% of out of school suspensions. In that same vein, Black youth make up 62% of juvenile detentions.
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 homeless people in Westchester County are Black.
  • Based on median family incomes, Black families make $82,842 less every year than White, Non-Hispanic Families.

WCA has developed a strategy of the work that has to be done in order to change this. Our advocacy work is based on the notion that it is not enough to address immediate concerns.  We need to change the fundamental systems in place to ensure that racial equity is long-lasting and a permanent fixture in our society.

Our own advocacy efforts include:

  • Solutions Not Suspensions Legislation
  • Work on Child and Youth Homelessness
  • Data analysis investigating trends by race and gender

The road to equity has been long, and at the moment, seems to have no end.  Yet, we are relentless in the pursuit of true justice.  We walk together with others who hope and strive for the same goal: to have our children, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code be healthy, safe, and prepared for life’s challenges.

 

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