Melissa joined other Puerto Rican community leaders and activists yesterday in demanding an aggressive response to recent findings in a Community Service Society study that Puerto Rican youth are the most disadvantaged group in New York City. Among the statistics presented by the report, nearly 25% of Puerto Rican young men are “disconnected,” meaning that they are neither in school nor employed.
Among those also represented at the press conference were Mujeres del Barrio, United Puerto Rican Organizations of Sunset Park (UPROSE), Caribbean Cultural Center, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and Council Member Rosie Mendez.
The organizers of the press conference called for a unified strategy among government officials, nonprofit organizations and the Puerto Rican community at large to reduce these disparities. Proposals have included increasing the allocation of public dollars for organizations serving Puerto Rican youth, and creating expanded opportunities for young people to be placed in leadership positions within community groups to help inform the decisions made and services provided by those organizations.
The report examines Latino youth in general, as they are now the largest share of NYC residents under the age of 25. While there were many troubling statistics around Latino youth in general, the findings around Puerto Ricans were most alarming, including that these young people experience the highest rates of poverty and, particularly among males, lowest rates of employment and school enrollment. The data in the report is compared to Mexican, Dominican and “Other Latino” youth, as well as African Americans, Whites and Asians. For example:
- 33.4% of Puerto Rican households are identified as “poor,” compared to 29.3% of Dominican and 27.4% of Mexican households;
- 55% of native-born Puerto Ricans attend school, compared to 61% of African American youth; and
- 24.6% of Puerto Rican males are both out of work and out of school, compared to 23.7% of black male youth.
Below is some coverage from yesterday’s press conference:
- Forman coalición para ayudar a juventud boricua (El Diario)
- A distress signal from our kids (El Diario Op-Ed)
- Report Points to Disparity in Puerto Rican Community (Epoch Times)