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Task force will make recommendations on race, culture

Posted Aug. 2, 2017

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The City Council appointed a 23-member task force on Tuesday, a panel designed to advise on issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth.

Co-chairs are Rosa Navejar (presiding co-chair), Lillie Biggins, Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Bob Ray Sanders.

Task force members: Charles Boswell, Walter Dansby, Robert Fernandez, Miriam Frias, Robert Goldberg, Yolanda Harper, Bishop Mark Kirkland, Nima Malek, Rattana Mao, Arturo Martinez, Roxanne Martinez, Judy McDonald, Terry Mossige, Cory Session, Katie Sherrod, Ty Stimpson, Jennifer Trevino, Monica Vasquez and the Rev. Tim Woody.

“I look forward to serving on this task force to help bridge all our communities that make up our city. By working together, we will strengthen Fort Worth,” Navejar said.

The task force will be in effect for up to a year.

“The question to be answered is when and how does the healing begin,” said Biggins. “In the situations we are experiencing, people turn to their leaders, and leaders lead. A task force of committed individuals can’t change the emotional pain we are enduring but as a collective community we can successfully embrace, define and take the journey to healing, together. It is times like these that I am so grateful to God for His faithfulness, our faith and commitment to service to others will guide our journey.”

The group has been asked to engage Fort Worth residents in a series of healthy conversations about race and culture, draw conclusions from these conversations and make recommendations to the City Council. The task force will also review findings of a study on disparities in how municipal services are provided, then advise councilmembers on a strategy to promote racial and cultural equity.

The task force will also advise City Manager David Cooke on an appropriate leadership training dealing with race and cultural issues.

“The universal word for peace, ‘Shalom,’ has within it the word ‘Shalem’ — unity,” Bloom explained. “The message for all of us being that ‘Unity’ of purpose is the forbearer to bring peace into our community and with peace comes compassion, inclusiveness, respect and a Fort Worth that we can all call home. I look forward to all of us listening to each other, learning from one another, building the bonds that connect all of us as one and bridging our differences into one common bond that connects all of us together.”

Sanders said: “I sincerely believe that the task force offers a rare opportunity for Fort Worth to address issues that have long been ignored or presumed by some not to exist at all. If we do our job well, by this time next year — with the help of residents from all over the city — we should be able to present to the City Council a set of findings that should be actionable. And if the Council takes heed and positively proceeds, it will be a giant step toward making our city more livable, tolerant and culturally sensitive.”

The city will be contracting with Estrus Tucker of Fort Worth, a nationally-prominent human relations expert, and with the National League of Cities to serve as consultants to the task force.

The task force will hold its first meeting at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 4 in the Exhibit Hall of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1700 University Drive.

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