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Race & Culture Task Force community update

Posted Jan. 16, 2018

The succeeding is an update from the Race & Culture Task Force:

In December 2016, Fort Worth gained national attention. Not for our world-class museums, historic stockyards or unprecedented economic growth, but because of a video involving a resident, her daughters and a Fort Worth police officer. In the days and months that followed, there were public outcries and calls for change. After the officer’s punishment was decided, the voices for equity and justice became louder.

The Fort Worth City Council heard the many voices in our community and in August 2017 they appointed a Task Force on Race and Culture. Four co-chairs were selected by the City Council. These chairs chose 19 other residents to join the Task Force. We looked for diversity and a passion to be involved. We selected some people who have served on other task forces and committees and some individuals who were new to city government. We brought together diverse representation based on race, age, gender and backgrounds.

The task force adopted their mission statement at its inaugural meeting.

The task force’s mission is to Listen, Learn, Build and Bridge in order to create an inclusive Fort Worth for all residents.

Over the past few months, the task force has focused on listening and learning from our residents. In October, we held a citywide town hall meeting where nearly 200 people came to speak and be heard. The meeting was also broadcast live and residents were encouraged to submit comments online.

The next opportunity to listen came through Community Conversations. Each conversation was hosted by one of 17 different community organizations and consisted of multiple sessions tackling some important questions:

  • What is the City of Fort Worth doing that helps or strengthens race relations, cultural awareness or racial equity?
  • Is racism a serious problem in Fort Worth?
  • What are you willing to do to improve racial equity, race/ethnic relations and/or cultural awareness in Fort Worth?

We heard from approximately 600 people and learned there are strong feelings surrounding this issue and residents want the opportunity to not only tell their stories but to find ways to improve the cultural climate in Fort Worth.

We heard that people want more opportunities to talk about race and culture. In answer to these requests, we scheduled 14 community meetings around the city. These will allow even more people to add their voices, and the task force to continue to listen and learn.

During its monthly meetings, the task force has received briefings on many topics including poverty, city workforce diversity, diversity of city boards and commissions, minority contracting, police relations, redistricting, and fair housing. To be transparent, we have recorded these meetings and made these recordings and handouts available at onefortworth.org.

Based on the comments from our public meetings and conversations, we have formed six committees to begin an in-depth look at the areas of the most concern to residents: criminal justice, transportation, housing, education, economic development and health. Each committee will bring back recommendations to the task force for inclusion in a final plan.

The City Council asked the task force to develop a plan with recommendations to improve race relations and racial equity in our community. We recognize that this is a huge task and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and yet we hope to deliver our findings to the council by August.

As we come to the end of our first six months as a task force, we will continue to listen and learn from our residents. At the same time, we will start to bring together these voices so that we can develop a plan that will build upon our unique and common experiences and bridge the gaps of differences that sometimes divide us.

Task Force Co-Chairs,
Lillie Biggins
Rabbi Andrew Bloom
Rosa Navejar
Bob Ray Sanders

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Public Hearing of the Trinity River Public Facility Corporation on Multifamily Revenue Bonds: 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Authority, 1201 Eat 13th Street.
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Urban Design Commission Public Hearing: 10 a.m. Feb. 22, 2018; City Council Conference Room 290, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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SBA 8(a) and HUBzone Certification Orientation: 11:30 a.m. Feb. 22, 2018; James E. Guinn Entrepreneurial Campus, Business Assistance Center, 1150 S. Freeway.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board of Commissioners Annual & Regular Meeting: 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Quadco Management Solutions Annual Meeting: 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Housing Development Corporation of Fort Worth: 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Wind Terrace, Inc.: 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Cavile Public Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Master Composter Class: 6 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Tarrant Area Food Bank Administrative Building, 2525 Cullen, 76107.
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Bluebonnet Circle Infrastructure Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; La Mancha Business Center Building 3, 3120 Merida Ave.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Commission: 6 p.m. Feb. 22, 2018; Tarrant Regional Water District, Conference Room, 800 East Northside Drive.
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Deferred Compensation Oversight Committee: 9 a.m. Feb. 23, 2018; Fort Worth Credit Union Board Room, 200 Texas Street.
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Minority and Women Business Enterprise Advisory Committee: 11:30 a.m. Feb. 23, 2018; James E. Guinn Building, First Floor, PharmaFab Conference Room 116, 1150 South Freeway.
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Master Composter Class: 6 p.m. Feb. 23, 2018; Tarrant Area Food Bank Administrative Building, 2525 Cullen, 76107.
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Master Composter Class: 8:30 a.m. Feb. 24, 2018; Tarrant Area Food Bank Learning Garden at Ridglea Christian Church, 6720 W. Elizabeth Lane, 76116.
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Health Fair at Como Community Center: 9 a.m. Feb. 24, 2018; Como Community Center, 4900 Horne St.

Building Standards Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Feb. 26, 2018; City Hall, 2nd flr., City Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.
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Task Force on Race and Culture Work Session: 9 a.m. Feb. 26, 2018; Oak Hall, Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 26, 2018; City Hall, 2nd flr., City Council Chamber, 200 Texas Street.
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Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 3:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2018; Intermodal Transportation Center, Second Floor Community Room, 1001 Jones Street.
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Black History Program at MLK Jr. Community Center: 4:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2018; Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 5565 Truman Drive.

Disciplinary Appeal of Indefinite Suspension of Courtney Johnson: 9 a.m. Feb. 27, 2018; Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, Police Training Classroom #1134, 505 West Felix Street.
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