The City Council on May 1 approved an interim report from the Task Force on Race and Culture and agreed to extend the deadline for the group to complete its work until the end of this year.
After the 23-member task force began to hear from local residents about the extensive impacts of race and culture upon their lives, members determined that the scope of work originally assigned by the City Council was not broad enough to tackle the complex issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth. The Council agreed that a broadened scope of work and more time to investigate the issues will result in a better end product that effectively addresses disparities and community concerns.
So far, more than 1,200 residents have participated in the town hall-style meetings and smaller gatherings called Community Conversations. Some of the feedback received so far:
- There is common perception that little or nothing is being done by the City of Fort Worth to improve race relations, racial equity or cultural awareness. The city is perceived to be reactive rather than proactive.
- The problem is systemic, structural and institutional racism, not simply personal or individual acts of racism.
- Many residents believe that city leaders have failed to acknowledge this problem.
- There is a need to continue, expand and deepen community conversations about race and culture.
Six subcommittees are meeting to study racial equity and bias in several areas: criminal justice, economic development, education, health, housing and transportation. Each of the six subcommittees includes members of the larger Race and Culture Task Force, as well as subject matter experts and support staff from the City of Fort Worth. Over the next few months, subcommittees will submit recommendations to the task force.
Once the draft recommendations are compiled, the task force will ask for community input through a series of meetings and online engagement tools. The task force will present its final plan to the City Council in December.
About the task force
In 2017, the City Council appointed a 23-member task force 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.
The task force was 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.
For regular updates on the task force’s work, follow them on social media:
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Race and Culture Leadership Training for Fort Worth City Council, Appointed Officials, and Assistant City Managers: 9 a.m. May 29, 2018; Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, Multipurpose Room, 501 West Felix Street.
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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. May 29, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.
Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. May 29, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Chambers, 200 Texas Street.
Public Meeting Regarding the Proposed Goal for Fiscal Year 2018 Through 2021: 8 a.m. May 30, 2018; Office of Business Diversity Economic Development Department, 1150 South Freeway, Suite 144.
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Rolling Town Hall: 6 p.m. May 30, 2018; Pearl Snap Kolaches, 4006 White Settlement Road.
DFW International Airport Public Facility Improvement Corporation Board Meeting: 10 a.m. May 31, 2018; DFW International Airport Headquarters Building, Board Room, 2400 Aviation Drive.
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Splash Day at Greenbriar Community Center: 4 p.m. May 31, 2018; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill.