Austin Receives Recommendations to Combat Institutional Racism

On April 4, 2017, a task force created in November 2016 by Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler delivered its recommendations for reducing institutional racism and ensuring equity in that city. The 70-page report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and System Equities, co-chaired by Austin Independent School District Superintendent Paul Cruz and Huston-Tillotson University President Colette Pierce Burnette, includes recommendations in five areas: education, health, criminal justice, housing and finance.

Sample recommendations include:

  • Acknowledgement of racial inequities in city policies
  • The use of racial equity impact assessments on all new codes and ordinances
  • Training for public leaders, city and school district employees, and law enforcement
  • Greater transparency in law enforcement
  • Developing a local fund to address institutional racism in housing, and offer planned upgrades to deteriorating market-rate housing to families of color
  • Addressing gentrification in East Austin, a neighborhood populated mostly by communities of color
  • Regular reporting of health disparities
  • An anti-predatory lending campaign

The report release was covered by Austin’s NPR affiliate, KUT, and by the Austin Chronicle. How the City will receive and address the recommendations is yet to be seen.

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) understands the importance of addressing institution discrimination in all systems, especially the education system.  ACS authored Better Than Zero, a paper on how alternative discipline is breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, particularly for young people of color.  The paper takes a high-level look at national conversations and policy changes surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline and how zero-tolerance policies are changing national and in several states.  Download Better Than Zero here.


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