Rochester residents’ work improving school climate, public health, and neighborhood revitalization recognized as collaborative, inclusive and innovative 

Rochester NY— Rochester is among 20 communities nominated for the National Civic League’s All-America City Award. The award shines a spotlight on the incredible work taking place in communities around the country. Nominated communities have demonstrated a commitment to leveraging civic engagement, collaboration, inclusivity, and innovation to successfully address local issues. 

Since 1949, the National Civic League has recognized and celebrated the best in American civic innovation with the prestigious All-America City Award. The annual award recognizes the work of 10 communities that have used inclusive civic engagement to address critical issues and create stronger connections among residents, businesses and nonprofit and government leaders. 

The 2020 All-America City theme is “Enhancing health and well-being through civic engagement. The Rochester delegation, led by the City of Rochester, submitted three projects to win the nomination:

  • The High Blood Pressure Collaborative – led by Common Ground Health;
  • Project HOPE and El Camino Neighborhood Revitalization – led by Ibero and supported by Greater Rochester Health Foundation; and
  • The Community Task Force on School Climate – led by Rochester Area Community Foundation with Teen Empowerment, Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York , NYCLU and many community partners, including students, parents, Rochester City School District leadership and building-level educators, and practitioners in mental health, youth development and restorative practices.

Learn more about these projects here.

Typically, in-person competition, nominated communities will present their “stories” this year in the form of a virtual presentation/performance during the National Civic League’s annual conference held in August. The Rochester delegation is scheduled to present on Monday, August 17. In applying and throughout the process, communities reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, challenges and the progress they have made. During the conference, teams of residents, non-profit organizations, businesses and young leaders from communities across the country will come together virtually to collaborate and share insights. 

“The City of Rochester is proud to be a caring community that works together with our partner organizations to improve the quality of life for all of our residents,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “We are extremely pleased that the National Civic League has recognized our city as a finalist for the 2020 All-America City Award. We hope our presentation will reflect our values as a community and, in turn, solidify Rochester as one of the recipients of this year’s award.”

“Rochester’s work on school climate has catapulted the community into national recognition, said Rosemary Rivera, Co-Executive Director at Citizen Action of NY, “The record low suspension rates for Black and students of color is a testament to the power in community and the way collaboration and inclusivity successfully address local issues.”

“As a community we can all be proud of the path that our region has taken to improving health,” said Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health. “Advancing in this national competition is a recognition of how we’ve knocked down the walls that separated the doctor’s office from the community. I look forward to sharing how business, government, schools, clinicians, and families have and continue to come together to move towards health equity.”

“We as a Rochester community care deeply for our children and we are committed to ensuring their social emotional well being, said Ruth Turner. “We are proud of the work of uplifting youth voices and agency. This is the heart of the RocRestorative movement.”

“Students have an essential role to play in making our schools places where we are truly inspired,” said Beautiful Destiny Ford, a 17-year-old youth organizer with Teen Empowerment and a RocResponder at Wilson Commencement High School. “Adults have finally started to listen to us students through Solutions Not Suspensions and the Community Task Force on School Climate. Together, we are ending the school-to-prison pipeline for Black and Brown students in Rochester.”

“The revitalization happening in the El Camino neighborhood is real and ongoing,” said Miguel Melendez of Ibero. “We are thrilled to continue our progress with new investments in our community (La Marketa at the International Plaza, Pueblo Nuevo housing). We are also excited to pause and celebrate our successes as part of the All American Cities competition.”

“Rochester has a rich history of justice and social change. Frederick Douglass lived in Rochester and produced his newspaper, the North Star, in this city. Today, Rochester is home to an intergenerational movement, said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director of Alliance for Quality Education. Parents, students and community members have come together to create community schools, rewrite the code of conduct and now have police free schools. Rochester is shining a light on the possibilities of community collaboration.” 

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