Your contribution to the Beloved Community Campaign, a tax deductible gift, will provide the tools to help our region reduce our enduring racial disparities in various arenas, including wage earning, health, education and criminal justice.
We invite you to join the movement to create a beloved community with the Central Texas Collective for Racial Equity (formerly the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities)
For organizations and individuals interested in joining and supporting our efforts, please complete the form at the following link:
In November 2016, Mayor Steve Adler announced the formation of a task force comprised of several local representatives from business, education, housing, health, and criminal justice to address institutional racism in Austin. The task force members formed five working groups to focus in key areas: Education; Real Estate & Housing; Health; Finance, Banking, & Industry; and Civil & Criminal Justice.
Mayor Adler asked Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Huston-Tillotson University President, and Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD Superintendent, to lead the effort in collaboration with over 200 community members. Collectively, the task force developed 278 recommendations that would attempt to create transparency in law enforcement, provide funding for housing inequalities, and provide a path to review Austin’s governmental policies that may perpetuate the systemic inequities among many others.
Their mission involved work at three levels—individual, organizational and structural; and they maintain that progress must include a commitment from all other elected officials, along with CEO’s, executive directors, and other inhabitants of the C-Suite and grassroots leadership.
Initially their recommendation is for a commitment to collectively make the personal investment to:
Dr. Pierce Burnette and Dr. Cruz submitted the final report to the full council on April 6, 2017. They have acknowledged that this report is not the end, but rather continuing the community effort. The next phase of building on the great and sacrificial history of work led by many talented others, some of whom contributed to this current report, begins now.
The following is a link to the report presentation to Council, links some to news stories about the task’s force work, and a link to the website that houses the report:
Dear Community Members:
I pray this communication finds you and your loved ones safe and well during these unprecedented and austere times.
It was a little over three years ago that we found ourselves in a state of unrest as a community and began the work of the Mayor’s Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities Task Force (IRSI). While many of us continue to work daily for fighting the good fight, quite frankly as a collective, the fervor with which we all initially took on the task to work towards building a beloved community for all, waned over time as our day jobs consumed us, and life just kept happening. As a collective we slipped into ‘Someone Else’ will continue this hard heart work.
Before we waned as a collective we culled a list of recommendations. Then we prioritized those recommendations and developed individual implementation plans. We are grateful for the hard work and commitment to the mission of the IRSI Task Force working groups, steering committees, and working group co-chairs.
In January of this year, we met and recommitted ourselves to reconvening the collective for the next phase of our work. We began working to devise a communications plan to update the community on the direct and indirect results of our work and to emphasize the need to reignite our fervor. Then, what felt like suddenly, all across our country Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) community members were spun into a multi-pronged crisis. Our quest to update the community and to ask you to return to the collective took on a whole new sense of urgency by these alarming and repeating events:
Over the past several days, around the globe, citizens are demanding justice for the recent senseless killing of Black and Latinx by law enforcement (and former law enforcement officials). Once again, events such as this have ignited a heightened national dialogue about racism’s disastrous impact on society. Once again we are shaken awake.
The journey together has been long and, at times, challenging. Now, with the undergirding of hundreds of community leaders’ collective wisdom, we must return to our work as a collective strategically channelling our frustration into action. We must continue our invaluable work bringing the voices of hundreds of community leaders to the forefront to make transformative and sustainable change in our community.
While there is still much to be done, we have seen some fruits from our labor:
Life will keep happening, and our day jobs will keep calling. So, how do we must be in place to guide and oversee the implementation of the IRSI’s recommendations. So in partnership with several organizations and individuals including the Anti-Defamation League, Austin Community College, Austin Health Commons, Austin Independent School District, Austin Justice Coalition, the City of Austin’s Equity Office, Community Action Network, Equidad ATX, Huston-Tillotson University, and Leadership Austin we are creating a non-profit association to serve as an umbrella organization for some of the anti-racist work in our region. The association will be held accountable for setting goals, promoting and stewarding anti-racist strategies guided by and rooted in the IRSI recommendations and measuring progress.
That will continue our collective work. There is still work we must all do as individuals to maintain the movement of dismantling institutional racism and eradicating systemic inequities. Now is the time to engage beyond optical allyship. Instead, be an accomplice. We ask that you:
We are encouraged by how the conversation about race has changed in our community. There are seen and unseen changes in people and institutions having more courageous conversations than ever before. For this, we should be grateful.
As Mayor Adler said at the beginning of our journey, “We must become comfortable being uncomfortable.” That is how we change. This is hard work, but we must keep at it. The “arc of the moral universe is long,” but it is bending towards justice.
We will be in touch with each of you with more specifics of how you can help as we launch the next phase.
We leave you with two reflective questions:
How are you working to eliminate institutional racism and systemic inequities?
We would love to hear your feedback, questions, thoughts, or concerns. Please email them to Kazique Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your ongoing commitment.
We look forward to continuing to co-labor with you building a beloved community together,
Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D.,
Paul Cruz, Ph.D.