In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education held that equal access to public education is essential to the progress of a democratic nation. By law, race could no longer be used to exclude children from school. Brown’s promise of equal educational opportunity has never been fully realized in New York City. It continues to be impeded by harsh disciplinary and school safety policies that disproportionately exclude low-income students, black students, Latino students and students with disabilities from classrooms. As a result, these students are denied Brown’s guarantee of equal access to an education, adding to their greater risk of being pushed through the school-to-prison pipeline (STPP).
The New York Law School Racial Justice Project and the Racial Justice Program of the American Civil Liberties Union have co-authored a report on food deserts —areas with either no access or limited access to fresh, affordable food—and the impact on communities of color. The report is titled Unshared Bounty: How Structural Racism Contributes to the Creation and Persistence of Food Deserts. Approximately 23.5 million people in the U.S. live in low-income neighborhoods located more than 1 mile from a supermarket. African Americans are half as likely to have access to chain supermarkets and Hispanics are a third less likely to have access to chain supermarkets than are whites. Moreover, studies have found that minority communities are more likely to have smaller grocery stores carrying higher priced, less varied food products than other neighborhoods.