Authored By

James E. Rawlings, Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP, with research by DataHaven


March 03, 2013


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Greater New Haven Branch, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Empower New Haven, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, DataHaven

The NAACP Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP created the 2013 Urban Apartheid report, involving DataHaven's Executive Director, Mark Abraham, to work closely with NAACP staff and board members on its development and to contribute the research material used throughout. DataHaven also received a separate contract from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to support its work on the development and graphic design of this 25-page report. The report includes data from the 2012 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey.

Release of the report by the NAACP included a major press conference with area elected officials on March 27, 2013.  The report was widely covered on statewide television news and local newspapers, including the New Haven Register and New Haven Independent. An excerpt of press coverage from the New Haven Register is below:

Greater New Haven NAACP report shows wide economic, other disparities in region

New Haven, March 28, 2013 -- The NAACP Greater New Haven Branch Thursday released a data-driven report that shows startling economic, educational, health and other disparities between white people and those of color in the region.

Branch President James E. Rawlings, addressing a room of mayors, community leaders and experts, said the report was originally going to be called, "A report on the status of minority affairs in the Greater New Haven area," but when they saw the striking numbers, they decided to call the report, "Urban Apartheid," because the divide between the haves and have-nots is reminiscent of the apartheid or segregation formerly practiced in South Africa.

"Why in 2013, in the Greater New Haven metropolitan area where we all live does race and place create such a major difference in our ability to have equality and access to the same level of opportunities for all families?" Rawlings said. "We may be at the point where we have a permanent underclass."

The report, which looks at challenges, social determinants and overall inequalities, was prepared by the NAACP branch with the assistance of DataHaven, and the financial support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Empower New Haven and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Speakers, including Mayor John DeStefano Jr.; Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson; Jack Healy, president and CEO of United Way of Greater New Haven; and renowned child expert Dr. James Comer, professor of child psychiatry at Yale University, who contributed the report, all agreed that racial inequality is a pressing problem in the region that must be addressed by the broader community -- and that includes the haves.

Healy said people sitting in their houses in Guilford trying to decide whether to plan dancing, soccer or a math tutor for their kid next week, should, "reflect on their neighbors down the road," and become part of the change. "We have no choice as a region, but to even the odds," Healey said adding that everyone should reach out to someone they know and ask, "Have you thought about the challenge in the region?"

The facts in the report are "indisputable" he said, and "It's time for us to get engaged." DeStefano, who thanked the NAACP for its thorough report, said the issues addressed in the report -- education, housing, health, economics -- are connected. Viewing it that way is key in finding remedies, he said.

Comer said education is at the heart of it all. There once was a day when a strong family and home life could be built on a non-college job, but that has changed, and the world continues to change at a fast rate, he said. "Everything else is related to education," meaning the other issues of employment, housing, hunger, criminality, will take care of themselves, Comer said.

Some report findings highlighted by Rawlings include: Because of transportation issues, the poor are six times more likely not to be able to get to work; non-minority headed households in Connecticut have 65 times more wealth than the average minority household; 12 percent of African-American and Latino residents in this metropolitan area did not have money for housing at some point in the last year; 25 percent of African Americans and 40 percent of Latinos did not have enough money for food in the past year, compared to 15 percent of non-minorities; on Connecticut Mastery Tests given in third grade, 66 percent of non-minority students in New Haven are reading at goal or above, while it's 27 percent for black students.

Rawlings said the report will be sent to President Barack Obama with a call to convene a commission to analyze legislation and policy throughout the country and for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to form a commission to review, "why the richest and most progressive state in the United States has the large inequities and disparities." At the regional level, politicians are mobilizing and change is in the works, Rawlings said.

Rawlings said "place," referring to where a person lives, drives everything and housing in a community that's malnourished will fail. So one option might be to build public housing in a community that's healthy and contiguous to New Haven, he said. Rawlings also said work also has to be done to get employers to give a chance to those with criminal records who have a difficult time finding jobs.

The report also shows:

2010 college completion rates were 63 percent for Amity High School in Woodbridge and 15 percent for Hillhouse.

20 percent of black men and 28 percent of Hispanic men did not have regular access to transportation, compared to 9 percent of white men.

Criminal records show 5,351 black men -- or 5.35 percent -- are jailed, compared to 435 white men and 2,448 Hispanics. (statewide, in 2008)