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Peoria’s Paradox – Carter At Large By Lorraine B. Carter

lorraine-b-carterIt has been said, “Peoria, Illinois is the worst city for African American’s in the United States.” African-Americans are some of the finest citizens in Peoria and America, with great educations. They are owners of beautiful homes, magnificent churches, mortuaries, profitable businesses, and have great jobs with positions, earning wonderful salaries. They are educating their children, and obeying the laws as honorable citizens in spite of the oppressing bigotry of the times.

But, the masses of African American’s have suffered from the handcuffs of racism resulting in poverty throughout Peoria. Racism has held the majority of blacks back and has denied them opportunities to compete in the job market. They have been overlooked for management positions when they were extremely qualified. While some doors have been opened to them in the corporate and institutional spheres, many blacks, because of inequality have been denied entry into the very aspects of American life that promises the American Dream.

The idea of Peoria being “the Worst City for African American’s” is corroborated by many blacks and in concordance with those who have left the city to seek opportunities elsewhere. The black population is under represented in the Police Department, City, and County offices, and often denied employment and access to business opportunities. Institutional racism continues to be a source of anguish for many blacks. A few solutions for Peoria; start spending money on the inner city, use innovative ideas to improve the educational system, invest in small businesses, and offer incentives to bring corporations to Peoria that will pay livable wages.

The powers that be should be ashamed to allow conditions to exist that acquired the moniker “The Worst City for Blacks in America.” It is a travesty and a tragedy and it is up to the city to work towards changing that appellation. The shame is on the powers that be, not a people trying their best to overcome the bias that has defined Peoria for many people!