Rallies and marches draw attention, but then the work needs to get done.
“How can we change the dynamic?” said Dina Johnson, a Greece resident who organized the Black Families Matter rally in Greece on June 20 and now has teamed with a group of parents and teachers to form the Monroe County Family Coalition.
“How can we make sure all voices are heard, people are getting the jobs they can get and how can they apply, and how can they feel like they’re more (a) fit in their town,” she said.
Johnson and Monroe County Family Coalition have scheduled a forum for Greece residents to learn how to navigate town services and connect with existing partnerships such as with Center for Youth and Villa of Hope.
The Zoom videoconference is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Panelists include members of the Monroe County Family Coalition, Greece parents, students and teachers and owners of small businesses. Representatives from the town, the police department, the Greece Central School District and Greece Board of Education, RIT STEP, Villa of Hope, Center for Youth, Hope Lutheran and Partners in Restorative Initiatives are scheduled to participate.
Johnson said she organized the rally in June after conversations with her daughter after the killing of George Floyd. She said she wanted the impact of the march to last after people went home.
“I need seats and I need action,” said the founder/president of Monroe County Family Coalition.
Monroe County Family Coalition came out of what she and others heard at the rally — many Black and Latino residents didn’t know what services the town offered and once informed, didn’t know how to gain access to them. She said some people weren’t aware of civil service tests that are the gateway to jobs with the town.
“This is seats at the table,” she said.
Greece is the largest suburb in the county. Of the approximately 95,000 residents, 7.5% identify as Black or African American, 6.3% identify as Hispanic or Latino and 2.7% identify as multi-racial, according to the Census Bureau.
The coalition is in the process of gaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and expanding to other towns.
She said she hoped the forum would bring more partnerships and help people understand the services available and where they can go in the town to get their questions answered.