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Race and Culture Task Force presents final recommendations for equity to City Council

Race and Culture Task Force makes final recommendations to City Council

On Tuesday, members of the Fort Worth Race and Culture Task Force presented its recommendations for racial equity to the city council. Presiding co-chair Rosa Navejar said she was pleased to see the council's receptiveness of the group's suggestions.
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On Tuesday, members of the Fort Worth Race and Culture Task Force presented its recommendations for racial equity to the city council. Presiding co-chair Rosa Navejar said she was pleased to see the council's receptiveness of the group's suggestions.

Nearly a year and a half after its inception, the City of Fort Worth Race and Culture Task Force submitted its final recommendations to City Council.

The estimated cost to implement those proposals is about $3.2 million, according to the report.

The task force’s four co-chairs, Rosa Navejar, Bob Ray Sanders, Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Lillie Biggins, summarized their 85-page document of findings and recommendations before the council, which seemed receptive to many of the suggestions.

Navejar pointed out that the funding required for the recommendations would be half of one percent of the city’s general fund.

“Some of your recommendations are a bit eye-opening, but not totally surprising,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “They’re the kind of eye-opening where it’s good for us to see and to take a hard look at where we are.”

One of the more contentious recommendations in this process has been the call for civilian oversight of the police department. The document lists as a potential challenge “police officer association resistance to the [Civilian Review Board] due to the fear of civilians policing police and FWPD due to the newness of this program” .

Councilwoman Gyna Bivens commended the task force for their data analysis but urged the city to keep track of the numbers. She gave the example of when she joined the city council, she asked for a list of staffers every quarter in order to monitor diversity.

“Everybody else is real happy and I’m really not,” Bivens said. “I’m happy with the report but it’s very, very sad that it takes this kind of report to wake up people in my city. For me, this gives us an opportunity to look at Fort Worth and how brave can we be.”

The task force was originally appointed following the arrest of Jacqueline Craig in December 2016. Craig’s case resulted in public outcry and brought to the surface racial and cultural inequalities in the city.

Videos of previous meetings can be viewed here.

The grassroots coalition United Fort Worth has been critical about the task force’s recommendations since the first drafts were brought to the community. Members of the group were expected to present their concerns and solutions regarding the recommendations at the council meeting this evening.

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