After several high-profile incidents involving the Austin police and African Americans, Mayor Steve Adler is set to announce his plan Wednesday afternoon to create a task force focusing on addressing institutionalized racism.
“Violent incidents involving our police officers and communities of color are – and should be – disturbing,” said Mayor Adler, “but it became obvious when we committed to addressing them that this was a bigger problem than just how law enforcement interacts with African Americans. To deal with racism in Austin, we need to acknowledge that institutional racism exists in Austin, have an honest community conversation about what we can do to root it out, and then commit ourselves to actually do what it takes to make sure all Austinites have an opportunity to thrive.”
The task force will consist of local community leaders and will be chaired by Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz and the President of Huston-Tillotson University, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette. By March 2017, they're expected to have an action plan on how to end racism in Austin.
Dr. Cruz spoke to KVUE about his hope for the task force.
“I will do my part and work with our task force to foster honest conversations and to deliver actionable solutions to the Mayor. It’s not often you’re asked to make real progress on one of our country’s greatest challenges, and I welcome this opportunity," said Cruz.
The formal announcement of the task force will be held at the Austin City Hall Conference Room at 2 p.m., Wednesday.