The MERT (monitoring, evaluation, research, and testing) committee gave a public presentation of the Coalition's updated demographics report to an audience of about 50 people at the South Orange Public Library.
To read the report, click here.
Following the delivery of the presentation, there was a productive exchange with the audience about further research; the importance of community attention to and collaboration on reversing the declining Black population in SOMA;the need to address internal community issues (schools, police interactions, among others) that draw people away from moving to SOMA; the need for more and varied affordable housing.
The report posted in the above link includes some modifications to the one delivered at the library. We agreed that the information on income levels was not clear and that the data set was too limited. We included some slides in the 'schools' section at the presentation in the interests of time.
Our goal in doing the study is to have accurate information about trends in racial integration in all aspects of SOMA community life. The information collected serves to inform our integration work which has included partnering with Seton Hall to undertake a survey of Black SOMA residents to learn more about why they moved here and what they think stops other from doing so; developing a targeted marketing program; working with realtors; working with neighborhood associations to address residential concerns; working on community policing; and advocating for school and classroom integration and a diverse teaching staff.