Study: Rockford ranked eighth-worst city for African Americans to move to

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A new study lists Rockford as one of the worst cities for African Americans.

"Individuals feeling like they’re coming from this demographic are less likely to feel ambitious,” said Jonah Kasiem, NAACP member.

A study by 24/7 Wall St., an analysis company, ranks Rockford as the 8 worst cities for African Americans to settle.

"it's unfortunate because I am from this city," Kasiem said.

Kasiem has spent most of his life in Rockford.

"I left for about four years to join the navy and then I came back," Kasiem said.

And now is a member of NAACP Hoping to improve the city for all.

"My role within the Rockford branch is to spark the conversation of change within the youths,” Kasiem. Said.

Statistics put unemployment for African Americans in Rockford at 24% compared to only 8% of Caucasian’s.

"There's a disconnect between the different type of community outreaches for jobs and college that aren't really going to young adults,” Kasiem said.

"The day I got into office I made a couple of priorities. We said number one we need to make sure that our employees are more reflective of our community,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

Which is why McNamara started several different programs.

"If you look at the number of appointments we've made. We have dramatically increased the diversity in race and women's representation in our boards," McNamara said.

"There are opportunities for you that you can look forward to and you should definitely take the time to prepare yourself and condition yourself to give those opportunities the best chance that you can give them,” Kasiem said.