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Mayor Malik Evans Renders His End-of-the-Year Review After First Year in Office

By Staff

Happy New Year! As we march into 2023, many are reflecting on the past years triumphs and maybe even the troubles that may have transpired.

“It’s important to look back and more important to look forward,” Mayor Evans said as he reflected.

Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans recently reflected on his year in office, reviewing and speaking on what he sees for the future of the City or Rochester.

“Our goal for 2023 continues to be to create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester where everyone can reach their full potential,” Evans said. “It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s realistic. Because the people in our community are working hard to make that happen.”

Evans touched on the city’s rampant crime and violence, strengthening our neighborhoods, increased organizational and entrepreneurial partnerships, collaborations with partners in the human service sector and the development community, and so much more.

He also touched on all the accompliments made during 2022!

“As we move forward into 2023, we’ll build on these accomplishments and make even more progress toward the future we are building together,” said Evans.

Read an excerpt of Mayor Evans’s year-in review below:

“Today is the third day of Kwanzaa and the principle of the day is Ujima: collective work and responsibility. I can’t think of a better day to look back on my first year in office than the day we are called to reflect on working together, because collaboration has been the Number One principle of my entire Administration. As you know, the mantra I brought with me when I entered the office was: “It’s not me, it’s we.”

I had no idea how relevant it would turn out to be. When I delivered my inauguration speech on January 1st, I said Rochester has a past to remember, a present to live and a future to build. In just under four days, 2022 will be in our past and 2023 will be in our present. The future we are building is becoming more clear – and it’s more exciting and more hopeful than ever.

The source of that hope is the people of Rochester: Residents and stakeholders who fight for this city every day, especially those in our most challenged neighborhoods who refuse to give up on them. They are the true heroes in our community who deserve our deepest gratitude and support.

Let’s start with our greatest challenge: Crime and violence. At the beginning of 2022, Rochester had to cope with two pandemics, the coronavirus and violence. The pandemic of violence could have outlasted the pandemic of the virus. The virus is still with us, but we’ve adopted a new normal life with the virus; a life with vaccinations and careful social gathering. A new normal of tending to our own health in a spirit of collective responsibility. But we cannot, and will not, accept a new normal for violence. Ever.

When I look back on 2022, what stands out for me is that our community refused to accept the historic surge in violence. We’ve re-dedicated ourselves in a spirit of collective responsibility to bring violence under control. In 2022, the name Julius Greer was burned into my memory forever. Julius was the first homicide victim of the year, killed at age 14 on his way to the store to get noodles. I’ll never forget his name. But I’ll also never forget the spirit of collaboration that became the central focus of our community’s response to crime and violence.

2022 was a year when the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Fire Department lost two of their own to the dangers of the job … a stark reminder that the men and women who keep our community safe are driven by a higher calling to protect others, even at the risk of their own lives, a higher calling fueled by courage and determination that we must all be thankful for.

To meet our objectives for public safety this year, we moved forward with a three-part strategy of Prevention, Intervention and Suppression.

On the Suppression side, the RPD has built a historic alliance with our law enforcement partners at the State Police and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, to target the most violent offenders and take illegal guns off the street. And the City Law Department utilized the expanded authority under the Gun Violence State of Emergency to go after nuisance property owners who create the environments for violence with illegal parties and after-hours gatherings.

We are nowhere near where we need to be, but the numbers of shootings seem to be finally trending downward and we will accelerate that trend line in the months ahead. And this week, we filed suit against the gun industry to hold them accountable for their role in this mayhem.

On Prevention and Intervention, our Office of Violence Prevention has expanded the size of the Pathways to Peace street outreach team; we’re helping people re-enter society from incarceration and we kicked off the Advance Peace pilot program. We launched the Rochester Peace Collective to deliver a unified approach to community violence prevention programs. I want to thank the many organizations that signed on to be founding members of the Peace Collective and I look forward to growing these partnerships in the years ahead.

In the Department of Recreation and Youth Services, we expanded our Crisis Intervention teams to offer more healing support to those who call 911 and 211 for help. Of course, the best form of violence prevention is Economic Empowerment, and in 2022, we made tremendous progress on that priority.

We started a workforce development and entrepreneurship partnership with community agencies that is expected to create more than 2,000 job opportunities for city residents in a variety of areas, including urban agriculture and culinary services. We’re rebooting our Financial Empowerment Centers and increasing support for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in our Purchasing Bureau. We made further investments in the Young Adult Manufacturing Training Employment Program, or YAMTEP and we increased pay for youth positions in Aquatics and at our R-Centers.

We increased internship stipends; created new programs in our R-Centers and library branches; and are bringing back the Police Athletic League to improve the relationships between our youth and the police who are sworn to protect and serve them. In 2023, we’ll further expand our Summer of Opportunity Program with even more employers creating summer job opportunities for our youth.

On our priority of Strengthening Neighborhoods, we made progress to provide our residents with the secure foundation of a home; develop pride in their neighborhoods and improve civic responsibility among our landlords and commercial businesses. On housing security, we made progress along the entire spectrum — from homelessness to affordable housing to home ownership.

And we did it in collaboration with our partners in the human service sector and the development community, thanks in large part to the work of the Housing Quality Task Force that we convened early in the year. We created new positions for code enforcement and compliance to go after slum landlords, and we created a position for a dedicated Housing Court attorney.

We know that rent burden is a major contributor to Rochester’s poverty rate and we made real progress to reverse it by completing new affordable-housing developments at Edna Craven Estates, Zion Hill Senior Housing and Pueblo Nuevo. We kept critical existing affordable units online with the renovation of Park Square Downtown.

We increased investment in creating homeownership with our Buy the Block Program.

We also made progress on our priority for Equity, Inclusion and Justice. This priority is embedded in all of our other priorities in places like Inner Loop North and the support for MWBE businesses. We dedicated an additional $1 million to further implement the report of the RASE Commission to do things like kick off the Roc the Block Community Employment Fairs; and the Community Total Health and Wellness Fairs.

These are just some of the accomplishments we made in 2022 that will become part of our city’s history – our past to remember.

As we move forward into 2023, we’ll build on these accomplishments and make even more progress toward the future we are building together. I’m more confident of that today than I was on January 1st. Because if I learned anything in 2022, it’s this: Rochester is a community that fully embodies the principle of Ujima: the principle of collective responsibility.

So on this third day of Kwanzaa, I call on all of Rochester to join us to carry forward the progress we’ve made into the New Year. Join us as we continue to work together in a spirit of collective responsibility. We can only build and maintain our community by doing it together. We’ll make our brothers’ and our and sisters’ problems our problems And we’ll solve them together.

…Thank you and have a Happy New Year. “

The remainder of the transcript can be read or video viewed at https://www.cityofrochester.gov/mayor-evans-2022-year-in-review/