JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – New research out of Jackson County highlights some of the racial disparities within the community. It’s part of a study done every three years.

“When we do it together it’s bigger than if we are just out there doing it alone,” said Co-Chair of the Jackson Collaborative Network, Myesha Jones.

The Jackson Collaborative Network is a team of community leaders ready to come to the table to have uncomfortable conversations when it comes to racial disparities in Jackson.

“We can change the systems that create oppression and that create inequities, and we can make Jackson a better place,” said Jones.

For them, that starts with sharing their 2022 collaborative community assessment. It’s research that tells the story of deep, underlying issues, including racial disparities in poverty, mortality rates and food insecurity.

“Almost every outcome across the board is different for our black and African American residents children including,” said Manager of the Jackson Collaborative Network, Sheri Butters.

The data shows 49% of black children are living in poverty in Jackson County compared to 16% of white children. Data also shows that black infants are five times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants, and 46% of African Americans say they worry about having enough money to buy nutritious meals. Homeownership is also much higher for white residents at 72% compared to 41% for black residents. As far as unemployment goes, 12% of black residents are unemployed compared to 5% of white residents.

“This data is new but the information in this data isn’t new. So these are problems and inequities that Jackson has experienced for a very long time,” said Jones.

The research was completed thanks to the help of nearly 20 community partners, and while the group says there is a lot of great work being done in the community more action is needed.

“It’s not by accident and that’s the thing that I think we really have to take ownership of is that our systems that produce these outcomes they are designed to produce these results and unless we actually redesign and interrupt those systems we will continue to see these results,” said Butters.

The group says awareness is one tiny step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. They hope this research gets the ball rolling for change.

“First you have to know, but then you have to ask yourself now that I know what will I do?”

Difficult conversations that they hope will help bring the community together.