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Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on the F.D.N.Y.’s Settlement of Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on New York City’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of African-Americans and Latinos who were victims of discriminatory practices in hiring.

The settlement will allow men and women who were not hired based on their race to claim $100 million in back pay and medical benefits that had been denied to them. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Vulcan Society, an organization of African-American firefighters based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the Ninth Congressional District of New York, and three applicants wanted to become firefighters.

“There existed a policy of massive resistance, by which qualified African-American and Latino applicants were almost entirely excluded from service in the New York Fire Department based on their race. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Vulcan Society President John Coombs for their efforts to reach an agreement that will not only compensate the victims, but also commits the Fire Department to a policy of inclusion,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who as a member of the New York City Council initiated an investigation of hiring practices used by the Fire Department. “As the representative in Congress of many of the men and women who were victims of the policy of exclusion, I will work to support the Vulcan Society to eradicate the effects of discrimination in the N.Y.F.D.”

Diversity in the N.Y.F.D. has increased in recent years, as sixty percent of the most recent class of recruits are men and women of color, compared with sixteen percent of the department as a whole.

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.