Race and culture relations

ONE FOR WORTH community meeting on race and culture relations

by Kathryn Kroll, 2017-2018 Brentwood-Oak Hill Neighborhood Association President

The East Regional Library was host to the Jan. 29 “Continuing the Conversation” meeting and over 40 Eastsiders attended this meeting hosted by One Fort Worth, the City of Fort Worth’s Race & Culture Task Force.
In August 2017, the Fort Worth City Council appointed a task force to look at the areas of race and culture and how they affect our community. The group is meeting with community members throughought 2018 and will make recommendations to the City Council on areas where they think change is needed.
The Task Force will also look at statistics and trends to determine how race and culture impact the delivery of city services.

To date, over the past few months, more than 600 people have participated in these Community Conversations.
The Mission of The Task Force’s is to Listen, Learn, Build and Bridge in order to create an inclusive Fort Worth for all residents. The Vision is that Fort Worth will become a city that is inclusive, equitable, respectful, communal and compassionate.
Residents are invited to come out and share their opinions and ideas at these meetings. Task Force members and city staff will be available to record comments and provide them to the entire Task Force. Each meeting will last approximately 2 hours. All meeting rooms are wheelchair accessible. If you need special assistance or accommodations, plese call 817-392-8552 at least 48 hours before the meeting so that arrangements can be made.
The volunteer moderators explained the process the meeting would follow, and the attendees were divided up into eight groups of six for individual small group discussions. Each person was allotted 10 minutes to answer the four questions posed to the group. One person would take notes on large paper and the comments and suggestions were shared with the larger group at the end of an hour.

The questions to be answered:
1. Is racism a serious problem in Fort Worth? Why or why not? How has racism impacted you personally?

2. What are you willing to do to reduce racism or improve race/ethnic relations or cultural awareness in Fort Worth.

3. What can the City of Fort Worth do to improve the fairness and quality of services to all races and cultures in Fort Worth?

4. What can Fort Worth do to reduce racism in all its forms and promote cultural respect and harmony?

It was not surprising, but was very disappointing that every single group said emphatically, “YES, racism is a serious problem in Fort Worth.” Many said it had gotten worse in the past few years. One woman described it as “Polite racism back then, now it is ugly, out there, blatant racism.”
On this night, for every instance of perceived racism mentioned, there was also a suggestion or idea for a workable solution to that problem. The photos above are the summary sheets presented to the group at large.
After the meeting ended, these sheets were collected by the task force team to be typed up and added to the database they are building to sort the problems and suggestions.
More than one small group commented that people fear what they do not know or understand. Learning more about other cultures would reduce preconceived ideas and prejudices.
The website has presentations, handouts, videos of previous meetings and other information.
GET INVOLVED. You live here. You can make a difference.
Here is the list of meetings for February. You do not have to live in that area to attend.
February 10 at 10 a.m.
Southwest Community Center 6300 Welch Ave. 76133
February 10 at 2 p.m.
Riverside Community Center 3700 Belknap St. 76111
February 17 at 2 p.m.
Summerglen Library 4205 Basswood Blvd. 76137