Schenectady Human Rights Commission hosts economic justice town hall

Black History Month

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition—an arm of the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission—will hold a community town hall on economic justice in the black community today in SUNY Schenectady’s Mohawk Room at 6 p.m. The panel discussion aims to define racial and economic justice and evaluate connected issues locally, and will include a public comment section before concluding at 8 p.m.

An intersectional discussion of race must overlap with labor and economic issues in black households. While employment, income inequality, poverty, and housing are not solely black community issues, their effects are often undeniably devastating for families and people of color. These intersecting issues influence and compound one another.

The MILK Coalition’s community forum would identify potential solutions to resolve disparities important to people of color and labor communities in the Capital Region. The Capital District Area Labor Federation and the Schenectady Branch NAACP also sponsor the event.

Panelists include Dr. Steady Moono (SUNY Schenectady president), Ron Gardner (Schenectady director of Diversity and Affirmative Action), Mark Emanatian (director for the Capital District Area Labor Federation), Shana Davis (president of the Capital District Coalition of Black Trade Unionists), Odo Butler (Schenectady NAACP president), and Tony Gaddy (head of the Upstate New York Black Chamber of Commerce).

Intersectionality is an emerging consideration in social justice circles. Through an intersectional lens, activists connect seemingly disparate ideas about oppression and discrimination. For example, a feminist perspective that does not account for the challenges black women face cannot comprehensively represent women’s issues.

The Schenectady County legislature created the local Human Rights Commission in 1965 to encourage respect and understanding among all local racial, religious, and ethnic groups. The commission, comprising 15 legislature-appointed commissioners, also helps secure the constitutional rights of individuals.

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