Community Discussion: I-81, Racial Isolation and Economic Exclusion in Onondaga County

November 17, 2017 @ 5:30 pm
November 18, 2017 @ 8:45 pm

I-81 is an integral part of the Interstate Highway system, cutting through the heart of Syracuse’s Southside, going north through the city, and whose useful lifespan is about to expire. When construction was completed decades ago, it destroyed Syracuse’s 15th Ward, at the time a predominately African American Community, with the added effect of choking growth in the city’s urban core in favor of suburban sprawl.

Join the New York Civil Liberties Union for a discussion about the decimation of homes and communities of color in order to make way for a 1.4 mile stretch of interstate highway through Syracuse. It is a story about white flight and the extraction of resources out of Onondaga County’s urban core – the City of Syracuse – in order to support it. This is a story about how this design failure has today helped make Syracuse a leader in concentrating poverty among African Americans and Latinos. It is about inequities in opportunity, underfunded schools, and segregation. It’s a story about a community’s resiliency and fight to gain remedy through the I-81 replacement project. 

Beginning at 5:30pm there will be a networking mixer, followed by the panel discussion at 7:00pm, and the evening will conclude with a community discussion at 8:15pm.


Rashida Richardson, Legislative Counsel, NYCLU

Kevin Jason, Staff Attorney, NYCLU

Sally Santagelo, Executive Director, CNY Fair Housing

Ocesa Keaton, Executive Director, Greater Syracuse HOPE

Robert Haley, Architect & Urban Planner, CNY AIA/Urban Design Center


Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, CNY Chapter Director, NYCLU


Kevin Atwater or Marcus Lane at or with questions.