Members of the grassroots coalition United Fort Worth presented their concerns about the Fort Worth Race and Culture Task Force, calling its recommendations “incomplete and opaque” during the citizens presentation portion of the city council meeting Tuesday evening.
Jessica Ramirez and Daniel Garcia Rodriguez gave a presentation on behalf of 11 members of the group. Ramirez made the presentation in Spanish while Garcia Rodriguez interpreted in English.
“Unless significant amendments are made, the recommendations might as well sit on a shelf,” they said.
United Fort Worth’s solutions include amending recommendations about an independent redistricting commission and specify that the final decision about it should not be left up to the City Council because of what they call conflicts of interests.
Ramirez and Garcia Rodriguez suggested a public referendum.
They also asked that the task force stop using the term “minority” and instead use people of color. Ramirez called the word minority “disrespectful and degrading” since the Hispanic population is growing faster in Texas than the white population.
“Justice for all is not the ‘Fort Worth Way’ ”, resident Tristeza Ordex-Ramirez said. “We will vote. I was disappointed to hear council members make audacious comments about how we should be respectful. How about respecting the right to speak? The right to work? The right to freedom?”
In the last year, United Fort Worth has been critical of the task force’s analysis.
The group submitted its criticisms and solutions to the task force after a draft of the recommendations was released to the public for comment. The organization noted that it was denied the opportunity to meet with the task force co-chairs and make a presentation to the larger task force.
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 during a city council work session Tuesday afternoon.