PEORIA (WEEK) — Peoria is the seventh worst city in the country for African Americans. It is a slightly improved rating from the financial news site 24/7 Wall Street. This report marks the fifth time in a row Peoria has made the top ten on that list.
24/7 Wall Street reports that in the metro area, the black median income is nearly half of the median income for whites. The same article also says that unemployment for African Americans is three times greater than the rate for White Peorians.
Agbara Bryson, who works directly with at-risk teens, says one of the primary reasons African Americans in Peoria fail to succeed is because of a mindset created by the environment they are in.
“You have high incarceration, you have poverty, you have a lot of crime associated and so these create behaviors that aren’t conducive to success,” said Bryson.
And Bryson says those experiences leave an impact.
“They bring on a lot of inappropriate behaviors that make individuals fear success and fear failure so therefore you don’t do anything,” he added.
Bryson also said the best way to fix the problem is to educate leaders and employers on how to identify issues, then to help people overcome them.
Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says the city is also working to improve life for American Americans by increasing diversity within city departments and even major trades like construction.