Mayor's Institutional Racism Task Force releases report

Report on institutional racism in Austin

AUSTIN - While the Austin mayor’s Institutional Racism Task Force started with some controversial police videos, it has looked at issues including education, housing and health.

Mayor Steve Adler appointed this committee last fall. He said that although police shootings prompted the task force, he realized Austin's minority community faces issues in a variety of arenas.

Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University, and Paul Cruz, Austin Independent School District superintendent, chaired the task force.

“We wanted to recognize that issues did not just exist in criminal justice,” Adler said. “But also civil justice, access to capital and also housing and health care. And we wanted to have a broader conversation.”

The task force has now released a report stemming from hundreds of recommendations.

Some of the many ideas include hiring allowances to minority teachers after the task force found teacher demographics don't match that of the student population. One suggestion is to create a new city position to help build relationships between the city, schools, nonprofits and businesses. Another idea is to create a marketing campaign for Austin that showcases the city's diversity.

There was also a lot of discussion about gentrification in the report. One of the recommendations suggests tax help for minorities in some of those neighborhoods.

Although the report does not include plans about how to put those recommendations in place, it does suggest that the city set up a fund to raise $600 million to buy and preserve affordable housing for minorities.

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