A Symposium on Segregation in New York City


    Saturday, November 16th, 2019

    United Nations International School



      New York City is the third most segregated city for blacks in the US and the second most segregated city for Asian Americans and Latinos.” - Fred Freiberg, executive director and co-founder of the Fair Housing Justice Center
      This segregation is not by accident. According to the NYC Health Department, “Since the 1600s—when NYC was established by colonization—racist policies and practices have shaped where New Yorkers live and go to school, what jobs they have and what their neighborhoods look like. Over time, these policies and practices have built on each other to create deep inequity.”


      One of the best examples of discriminatory government policy is redlining. Throughout the 1930s, neighborhoods in over 239 American cities were rated on their "creditworthiness and risk.” Neighborhoods that were considered “optimal” or “good” for investment were outlined in green and blue. Neighborhoods seen to be in decline were coded yellow. Neighborhoods that were home to "foreign-born people,” "low-class whites,” and “negroes” were seen as “hazardous” and outlined in red on a map. Residents were denied home loans and redlined communities were denied investments.


      Over 50 years since the Fair Housing Act banned redlining, the “hazardous” warnings appear to be literally true. Decades of denying resources have led to vast disparities in health, housing, education, and in exposure to pollution, violence, and experiences with the criminal justice system across different zip codes in New York City. Living in certain zip codes expands opportunity while living in others diminishes it.


      "Segregated by Design” challenges us to confront the ongoing legacy of segregation across different zip codes in NYC and lifts up the work of those working to end it and remedy its consequences.



      K. Bain

      696 Build Queensbridge


      K. Bain is the founder and director of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as one of New York City's most effective Cure Violence sites with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors.


      K. Bain served as a New York City Director of legislation and budget affairs for the 45th Council district in Brooklyn. In this role,

      he was instrumental in the drafting the Community Safety Act, landmark legislation aimed at increasing police accountability, creating better community police relations and safer streets.

      K. Bain's passion for the arts, human justice and community capacity development remain at the forefront of his priorities. Whether working with the” highest risk” or criminal justice involved youth or students in universities, K. Bain is committed to serving the many who find themselves faced with the systemic obstacles obstructing the sustainable growth and development of our most underserved communities.



      8:20am-10:30am Attendance in Advisory Groups and Viewing of the documentary "13th" (Classrooms on the 5th floor)


      10:30am-10:50am Break


      10:50am-11:50am Workshop Session 1 (Scroll down for detailed descriptions of each workshop)

      11:50am-12:50am Workshop Session 2

      12:50pm-2:00pm Lunch


      2:00pm-3:00pm Debrief and Thank You Letters to Speakers (advisory classrooms on the 5th floor)

    • Workshops

      Session 1: 11:30am-12:30pm

      Session 2: 1:30pm-2:30pm

      11212: Brownsville (Rm 506)


      The greatest determinant of a person’s health is their zip code. Throughout the US, residents of segregated, low-income, often formerly redlined communities, experience the poorest health outcomes and lowest rates of life expectancy.


      Life expectancy in NYC has been increasing and the city now boasts one of the highest life expectancies in the country. The average child born and raised in NYC can expect to live to 81.2 years of age. But life expectancy across the city can vary up to almost 11 years, depending on a child’s race, economic status, and zip code.


      Brownsville has the lowest life expectancy in NYC, at just 75.1 years. In the Upper East Side, life expectancy is 85.9. These disparities in life expectancy reflect racial and economic disparities between neighborhoods. Brownsville is one of the most segregated zip codes in NYC and has the largest concentration of public housing in the city. It is 76% black, 20% Latino, 1% white and 1% Asian. 28% of its residents live in poverty, compared to 20% citywide. In contrast, the Upper East Side is 78% white and 10% Asian, and just 7% of its residents live in poverty.


      This workshop will be led by K. Bain, the Founder and Director of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as New York City's most effective Cure Violence site with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors.

      10454 and 10451: Mott Haven and Melrose, Bronx (Rm 505)


      It is no accident that residents of segregated communities of color in the US are more likely to live in some of the most polluted environments. A 2014 study found that whites and non-whites are literally breathing different quality air, with people of color exposed to 38% higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant associated with asthma. This is a direct legacy of redlining.


      In NYC, residents of historically redlined neighborhoods are much more likely to go to the emergency room for asthma than residents of “low-risk” areas. Nationally, 1 in 11 children suffers from asthma. But in parts of the formerly redlined sections of the South Bronx, Harlem, and a section of Brooklyn known as “asthma alley,” the rate is closer to 1 in 4.


      In Mott Haven and Melrose, in the South Bronx, the rate for child asthma emergency department visits is 647 out of every 10,000 children aged 5 to 14. By comparison, the rate in the Financial District is 28 out of 10,000. In Mott Haven and Melrose, 73% of the population is Latino and 24% is black. 29% of residents live below the poverty line. Four expressways run through or near the South Bronx, and the area contains waste transfer stations that handle close to 30% of NYC’s trash. In these neighborhoods, it is clear that asthma, segregation, urban renewal, and environmental racism go hand in hand.


      This workshop will be led by representatives from

      11372: Jackson Heights (Rm 500B)


      Jackson Heights is often referred to as NYC’s most diverse neighborhood. Demographically, it is 64% Latino, with many identifying as Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian and Bolivian, and 18% Asian, with many immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. Over 60% of Jackson Heights residents were born outside of the US, compared to 37% of New Yorkers.


      But when it comes to segregation from access to healthcare, Jackson Heights ranks number one in New York City. 28% of Jackson Heights residents over the age of 18 report not having health insurance. By comparison, 3% of residents of Stuyvesant Town and Turtle Bay and the Upper East Side are uninsured.

      The high rates of uninsured in Jackson Heights are strongly linked to race and immigration status and mirror a national trend. Immigrants throughout the US are much less likely to have health insurance than US-born individuals. Among all groups, Latinos have the highest uninsured rates.


      While the Affordable Care Act was successful in expanding health insurance to around 20 million, all undocumented immigrants in the US (approximately 11 million) were excluded from its provisions. In August 2019, Mayor de Blasio launched a new program to provide access to primary care for the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who do not have health insurance, including undocumented immigrants.



      10029: East Harlem (Rm 501)


      The legacy of redlining and its aftermath have fueled an era of mass incarceration in segregated communities of color in the US. Redlined neighborhoods endured years of disinvestment, white flight, neglect, and planned shrinkage which was followed by epidemics of poverty, drugs, and disease. But instead of addressing the systemic causes of urban decay, the state responded primarily through the criminal justice system.


      East Harlem is one of the neighborhoods in NYC where the state has invested the most in incarceration. In 2008, 285 people from East Harlem were admitted to prison, the second highest count in New York City. The estimated cost of incarcerating these 285 people is $23.4 million. East Harlem has been home to several “million dollar blocks,” areas where the state spends over $1 million a year to incarcerate the residents of a single census block.   East Harlem is 50% Latino and 30% black. 23% of its residents live in poverty. Just a few blocks south, on the Upper East Side, where 78% of the population is white and 7% of residents live below the poverty line, the expected lifetime cost of prison admissions in 2008 was just $300,000.  

      Disparities can also be seen in the rate of residents admitted to local jails. In 2016, the rate of jail incarceration for residents of East Harlem was 1,291 per every 100,000 adults. On the Upper East Side, the rate was 71 per 100,000.

      This session will be led by Robert Gangi of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). Using research, public education and policy advocacy, PROP aims to expose and end the current ineffective, unjust, discriminatory and racially biased, practices of the NYPD.​





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