News Release - Mayor Warren Dedicates Second Term to Achieving Economic Equality in Rochester


City of Rochester

News Release

Read a transcript of the speech>>

(Monday, Jan. 1, 2018) – Mayor Lovey A. Warren today pledged to dedicate her second term to bringing economic equality to Rochester as envisioned by such leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rochester’s own Joseph C. Wilson, the founder of the Xerox Corp.

“With God’s grace and His mercy, we will pick up where Dr. King and Mr. Wilson left off and try to bring true economic equality to Rochester,” Mayor Warren said. “Together, we will work to create in Rochester a living example of the powerful, but unfinished, legacy of these great men.”

Mayor Warren was sworn in during a ceremony at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music.

In her inauguration speech, Mayor Warren borrowed a refrain from one of Dr. King’s final addresses and implored the audience “Let us be dissatisfied together.” She noted that at the end of his life, Dr. King was beginning to take on the challenge of economic inequality. Meanwhile, she said, Joseph Wilson, the founder of Xerox and the namesake of her high school, was taking a deep interest in the civil unrest that had prompted race riots in Rochester and other cities.

“Dr. King started to articulate that civil rights alone do not guarantee freedom,” Mayor Warren said. “He said: For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?’ ”

Mr. Wilson responded to the race riots by meeting with members of Rochester’s African American community, including the Rev. Franklin Florence Sr and members of the FIGHT organization, to learn more about conditions of their lives.

Soon after, his company launched an aggressive effort to hire more minority workers and managers, and went on to become the first Fortune 500 Company to appoint a black woman as its Chief Executive Officer and President. She also noted that the legacy of Mr. Wilson traced to her election, as her father was a Xerox employee.

“And I hope Dr. King and Mr. Wilson would be proud to know that line will not end with me,” she said. “It will continue right on through my office to future generations.”

She said the first order of business will be to confront the issue of wage disparities. She cited a recent report by the Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, SEIU 1199 and the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, which found that unfair wages cause many citizens to live in poverty even though they have full time jobs.

According to the report, women, people of color and citizens with disabilities earning less money on average than their counterparts in the same jobs in nearly every industry. And that’s happening regardless of their educational standing.

“That’s just wrong - and has to stop,” Mayor Warren said. “As long as I am the Mayor of this city, Rochester will demand equal pay for equal work.”

Mayor Warren said she is proud of the things she had accomplished in her first term, citing capital projects at the Inner Loop East and the Port of Rochester Marina; unprecedented levels of investments in challenged neighborhoods including Hudson Avenue and JOSANA; and breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship and employment with initiatives like Kiva and VanPool.

“But like Dr. King and Mr. Wilson, I am not satisfied,” she said. “My work – our work – is not finished.”


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.