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A packed room addressing Cedar Valley violence, unemployment

WATERLOO Ia, (KWWL) — Earlier this year, we aired a special Steele report on racial disparities in Waterloo, following a report by 24/7 Wall Street. That report has also inspired local organizations, with the guidance of one from Michigan to take action.

Attended the ‘overcoming barriers community meeting’ tonight, to find out how they plan, to close the gap.

Barriers is a word that was brought up many times during a talk regarding violence and employment disparities in the cedar valley.

The Urban Alliance team from Kalamazoo, in town again to help implement initiatives in the Cedar Valley.

“We’re really excited to be back to talk about opportunities, to talk about solutions and to talk about what it really looks like in a community when you value every individual and what can happen in the transformation that can take place,” Urban Alliance Executive Director Luke Kujacznski said.

Following the 24/7 wall street article of Waterloo being the worst place to live as an African American several organizations such as the Urban Alliance talked about momentum to close the gap.

Momentum is a program that provides eligible unemployed and underemployed people with job and life skill training to secure and maintain new employment.

“Being that i am a minority, being that I am a person of color, that is something they were planning to talk about so I was like ‘okay, this is interesting,'” UNI senior Karina Valdivia said.

Debra Hodges-Harmon says the new local chapter called One Cedar Valley: getting to work, came about because so many are looking for positive changes.

“We have taken a lot of time and energy to present this to our community, so that we again present and resolve our issues as one community and not a community that’s divided,” Harman said.

A community that needs results, especially as the next generation gets ready take over leading the Cedar Valley.

“I’m going to be graduating soon, i’m going to be in the workforce soon, so what’s it going to look like for me,” Vadivia said.

It’s not a one and done discussion, the Urban Alliance will be in Waterloo for the next three days.

Urban Alliance will meet with area businesses to discuss future plans tomorrow morning.


KWWL Reporter

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