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Firefighters hoisted a ladder to rescue people through their windows after a fire broke out inside a third-floor duplex apartment at 333 E. 181st St. in the Bronx Sunday. | Source: New York Daily News / Getty

The recent deadly fires in the Bronx and Philadelphia have placed a spotlight on racial and economic disparities in urban housing and mounting fire-prone risks caused by them.

In the past week, both blazes have claimed more than 30 lives, including more than a dozen children. Another 63 people were injured in the Bronx blaze on Sunday. CNN reported that about half of the victims were hospitalized with life-threatening conditions.

News reports indicate many of those impacted by the Bronx fire were from the Gambia in West Africa. A GoFundMe was launched on behalf of the Gambians Youth Organization to help provide relief to residents.

Three Black women and nine of their children died in the rowhouse fire in Philadelphia last week.

Officials in both cities were quick to point to possible causes, seemingly laying blame on the affected families, these residential fires point to a broader issue of equity and safety in the nation’s housing stock.

Data shows that Black people are almost twice as likely to die in a residential fire than the national average. They are also more than twice as likely to suffer injury.

It’s easy to dismiss both fires as accidents resulting from individual behaviors. But the underlying conditions in distressed housing are a systemic problem. These problems aren’t new.

The Bronx apartment building stands a day after a fire swept through the complex killing at least 17 people and injuring dozens of others, many of them seriously on January 10, 2022, in New York City. | Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

Growing up in the late 1980s, my family lived in a building less than two miles from the site of the Bronx fire. When our building had a fire, we were unable to safely evacuate. By the time my mother and aunt realized there was a dangerous situation, the smoke consumed the hallway and stairwells. Two adults and five children under the age of 8 simply hunkered down and hoped for the best. We were lucky.

The alleged issues with the space heater in the Bronx fire or the overcrowding in the apartment in the Philly fire are common challenges facing many households around the country. Coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and rising heating costs, families are struggling to make ends meet.

“As a tenant organizer, I’ve seen so many apts without adequate heat, leading to tragedies like yesterday’s fire in the Bronx,” Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest tweeted. “My heart goes out to all the families who were affected. Please donate to support them if you can and join me in organizing to hold landlords accountable.”

Poor heating systems coupled with high heating bills make the space heater a lifesaver in the winter months. Space heaters accounted for 85 percent of deaths in residential fires. According to news outlet The City, residents of the Bronx building reported issues with “inconsistent heat” over the years leading to the use of space heaters.

While a space heater may have been the initial cause of the Bronx fire, reporting from The City indicates that a self-closing door failed to do its job which could’ve contained the fire.

Improving fire safety awareness and installing smoke detectors have helped reduce the number of residential fires over the past several decades. A report from the National Fire Protection Association examining the relationship between poverty and residential fires recognized the limitations of such efforts.

Firefighters gather in front of a Bronx apartment building a day after a fire swept through the complex killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens of others, many of them seriously on January 10, 2022, in New York City. | Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

People also might ignore a smoke alarm going off if the alarms are prone to go off for random reasons unrelated to an active fire. Sprinkler systems could alleviate some of the issues, but many buildings do not have them with landlords risking fines instead of investing the money for upgrades.

Reminding people of how to safely heat their homes with a space heater or encouraging them to have a fire safety plan could help reduce some fire-related deaths. But ultimately comprehensive solutions need to be adapted to improve outcomes for families like those who lost loved ones over the past week.

1. Andre Dickens – Mayor Of Atlanta, GA

2. Eric Adams – Mayor Of New York City, NY

3. Jaime Kinder – Mayor Of Meadville, PA

Mayor Jaime Kinder bangs the gravel for the first time… The first female mayor, first Black mayor in the history of Meadville pic.twitter.com/HwaAMv7ZE1

— Mike Crowley (@Tribune_Crowley)

4. Vivian McKenzie- Mayor Of Peekskill, NY

5. LaRhonda Patrick – Warner Robins, GA

It’s been a great day as we celebrated the historic inauguration of Mayor LaRhonda Patrick. Continued blessings & prayers for her, her husband Aaron, and their entire family. Let the work begin! @LaRhonda4Mayor @FBBC31093 #warnerrobinschronicles #proudpastor pic.twitter.com/WeayZx1hCR

— Tolan Morgan (@tolan_morgan)

6. Byron Brown – Mayor Of Buffalo, NY

I am proud to be sworn-in for my 5th term as Mayor of the City of Buffalo, and honored for it to take place in the exact spot where Theodore Roosevelt was sworn-in as the 26th President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/nXzVMgQnfW

— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown)

7. Ed Gainey – Mayor Of Pittsburgh

8. Melvin Carter – Mayor of St. Paul, MN

9. Ken Welch – St. Petersburg, FL

10. Elaine O’Neal – Mayor Of Durham, NC

Elaine O’Neal, Durham’s first Black woman mayor, has officially been sworn in pic.twitter.com/87g4Hg8BkB

— Durham, NC (@DurhamNC)

11. Deqa Dhalac – Mayor Of South Portland, ME

Continue reading Notable Black Mayors Who Have Been Sworn Into Office In 2022 

Notable Black Mayors Who Have Been Sworn Into Office In 2022

Source: twitter / Cleveland Public Library

UPDATED: 10:15 a.m. ET, Jan. 11, 2022 Representation is the most efficient path to change. If we are not in the room, how can we be a part of the conversation? Being represented in politics on national level is very important, but if we want to see the changes that we deserve in our communities, it start at the local level. In 2022, black men and women all over the country were elected to represent their cities. Check out some of the black mayors who have been sworn into an office in 2022. Justin Bibb was sworn in as Cleveland’s 58th mayor at the city’s Public Auditorium on Jan 8, 2022. Dubbed Cleveland’s first millennial mayor, the 34-yea-old political phenomenon won the mayoral election by defeating Kevin J. Kelley with 62% of the vote. He’s Cleveland’s fourth black mayor and the city’s second youngest. https://twitter.com/clevelanddotcom/status/1479951509173452807 Bibb, who was born and raised in Cleveland, has wanted to be in politics the majority of his life and his journey is quite interesting. He interned for Senator Barack Obama in 2007 and took his first local government job in 2011 as Special Assistant for Education & Economic Development for Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Bibb took his talents to the corporate world in 2015,  becoming the Head of Global Cities Practice at Gallup, traveling, and working in New York and Washington D.C. Bibb returned to Cleveland in 2019 to serve as KeyBank’s Vice President. Although Bibb worked in a corporate capacity, he also had his thumb on the pulse of the black community in his native city. After the shooting death of Tamir Rice in 2014, Bibb co-founded Hack Cleveland, a non-profit that advocates for criminal justice reform using civic technology. During Bibb’s inauguration address he pledged to build a safer, more equitable, and healthier Cleveland. “We can be the Cleveland that young people move back to because there are good jobs, safe streets, good schools, quality grocery stores, good health care,” said Bibb. “We don’t just have to dream about that Cleveland. We can and will work toward that goal every minute of every day.” Police reform is also on the agenda for the Newly elected mayor. He plans to provide police officers with raises, better technology, and more accountability while giving residents a louder voice in how their neighborhoods are policed. https://twitter.com/BibbForCLE/status/1478867463488036869 Bibb also plans to address youth gun violence in the city. He has already met with Police officers, as well as city prosecutors about how to move forward in addressing the violence in Cleveland. Bibb’s hopes to also announce plans to reform the city’s diversion center, which provides treatment to the mentally ill and addicts. Instead of sending them to jail, the center would provide them with treatment instead of prison time. Although Bibb’s plans for the city are ambitious, he’s ready to be the change that Clevland has needed for a very long time. Check below for our list of notable Black Mayors who have been sworn in 2022.

 

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Notable Black Mayors Who Have Been Sworn Into Office In 2022

Source: twitter / Cleveland Public Library

UPDATED: 10:15 a.m. ET, Jan. 11, 2022 Representation is the most efficient path to change. If we are not in the room, how can we be a part of the conversation? Being represented in politics on national level is very important, but if we want to see the changes that we deserve in our communities, it start at the local level. In 2022, black men and women all over the country were elected to represent their cities. Check out some of the black mayors who have been sworn into an office in 2022. Justin Bibb was sworn in as Cleveland’s 58th mayor at the city’s Public Auditorium on Jan 8, 2022. Dubbed Cleveland’s first millennial mayor, the 34-yea-old political phenomenon won the mayoral election by defeating Kevin J. Kelley with 62% of the vote. He’s Cleveland’s fourth black mayor and the city’s second youngest. https://twitter.com/clevelanddotcom/status/1479951509173452807 Bibb, who was born and raised in Cleveland, has wanted to be in politics the majority of his life and his journey is quite interesting. He interned for Senator Barack Obama in 2007 and took his first local government job in 2011 as Special Assistant for Education & Economic Development for Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Bibb took his talents to the corporate world in 2015,  becoming the Head of Global Cities Practice at Gallup, traveling, and working in New York and Washington D.C. Bibb returned to Cleveland in 2019 to serve as KeyBank’s Vice President. Although Bibb worked in a corporate capacity, he also had his thumb on the pulse of the black community in his native city. After the shooting death of Tamir Rice in 2014, Bibb co-founded Hack Cleveland, a non-profit that advocates for criminal justice reform using civic technology. During Bibb’s inauguration address he pledged to build a safer, more equitable, and healthier Cleveland. “We can be the Cleveland that young people move back to because there are good jobs, safe streets, good schools, quality grocery stores, good health care,” said Bibb. “We don’t just have to dream about that Cleveland. We can and will work toward that goal every minute of every day.” Police reform is also on the agenda for the Newly elected mayor. He plans to provide police officers with raises, better technology, and more accountability while giving residents a louder voice in how their neighborhoods are policed. https://twitter.com/BibbForCLE/status/1478867463488036869 Bibb also plans to address youth gun violence in the city. He has already met with Police officers, as well as city prosecutors about how to move forward in addressing the violence in Cleveland. Bibb’s hopes to also announce plans to reform the city’s diversion center, which provides treatment to the mentally ill and addicts. Instead of sending them to jail, the center would provide them with treatment instead of prison time. Although Bibb’s plans for the city are ambitious, he’s ready to be the change that Clevland has needed for a very long time. Check below for our list of notable Black Mayors who have been sworn in 2022.

This content was originally published here.

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