New study shows socioeconomic disparities persist in San Antonio’s African American community
A new study paints a picture of the stark inequality faced by Black San Antonians.
The study was commissioned by The San Antonio Area Foundation and the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund.
“The intention isn't just to have the data, but to really create a path forward of what the solutions are so that we can move forward and create a community where all can benefit,” said Patricia Mejia, vice president for community engagement and impact at SAAF.
African American San Antonians represent 7% of the city’s total population, according to Robert "Bobby" Blount, chairman of the board of directors for SAAAACF.
“One of the things to understand is the African American population itself is throughout all of San Antonio, throughout all of Bexar County. A lot of times, you associate one or two particular areas. But we found, like others in San Antonio, that the move to other areas has been very strong in the last five years or so,” he said.
The study found African American residents are less likely than other racial demographics to be employed, have health insurance, own their own business or have a computer or internet access.
It also found that African American students are overrepresented when it comes to suspensions and disciplinary programs and underrepresented in Advanced Placement courses.
The study makes a number of recommendations to address the inequities. For students, they include expanding eligibility requirements for early education programs, creating more opportunities for African American students to access AP classes and expanding paid internship opportunities.
The study also recommends lifting barriers impeding access to credit and expanding lending and support services to African American businesses and entrepreneurs.
The report will be repeated in the future, possibly with different demographic variables.
“We've called this report kind of a foundation, something that we want to continue to look at every so often to be able to see what numbers are moving so that we can make sure that our city's decision makers at every level are reflective of our entire community,” Meija said.
She wants San Antonio to be a model for other cities across the nation.
“I think part of the problem is that we always want really short-term solutions, and we know that these challenges and disparities took a long time to create and we have to be invested in the long term to create the solutions and to make us a model city for the country,” she said.
- Robert "Bobby" Blount, chairman of the board of directors for the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund
- Laura McKieran, DrPH, executive director of Community Information Now (CI:Now) and associate professor of management, policy and community health at the UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio
- Patricia Mejia, vice president for community engagement and impact at the San Antonio Area Foundation
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, February 2.