Since the fall of 2014, a group of community based organizations, each working for social justice for their own communities, has been collaborating to address the growing racial divide in the city of Austin. As the city is in a period of accelerated growth, Austin has also become the most segregated city in the United States.
As s response to this growing divide, this coalition of community based organizations organized community members to pass a resolution at Austin City Hall calling for the city to develop an Equity Assessment Tool. The purpose of the equity tool is to evaluate the impact that existing city policies and practices have on equity, and develop recommendations for addressing current race and socioeconomic-based inequities throughout the city.
The member organizations of the coalition include: allgo, Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman, ICE Fuera de Austin/ ICE Out of Austin and the Alliance for African American Health of Central Texas (AAAHCT).
The coalition is open to and includes individual community members.
Last thursday CCU members gave testimony and presented our 10 point platform at the the City Council meetings public hearing for the new city budget. City Council will be deliberating on the budget so there is still time to give input to Balance the Budget for Equity.
As Communities of Color United (CCU) – a grassroots coalition of people of color organizations and individuals for racial justice – we are presenting a collective proposal to advance racial equity and social justice in Austin, TX. Last year, our coalition worked closely with city council and the mayor to pass a resolution in May 2015 calling for the city to develop an Equity Assessment Tool. Since then, city government has been working to launch an Equity Office, but has yet to develop or implement an Equity Tool or other mechanism to hold the city accountable in relation to racial equity. As CCU, we recommend that city government begin using an equity lens this year in its budget process development. We, as committed and directly-impacted community members, propose the following 10 points to be included in the budget process.
8. Place a moratorium on all market-rate and retail development incentives and subsidies
9. Freeze the Austin Police Department (APD) budget, and split APD from ICE completely (the proposed budget allots 70% of the city’s budget to Public Safety-APD, AFD, and EMS with only 10% of the budget for all of the city’s Health and Human Services.)
Allocate Funds to:
2016 – The Year to BALANCE THE BUDGET
EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN BUDGET PRIORITIES AND ALLOCATIONS
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE IN AUSTIN!
IN THE MEANTIME- USE YOUR VOICE! Please contact city council members and the mayor to let them know that you support CCU’s 10 Point Platform to advance Racial Equity and Social Justice in this year’s budget! Please call and/or email the following!
1. District 1 – Ora Houston* 512.978.2101, firstname.lastname@example.org
To support the on-going work of this all-volunteer coalition, please make a donation at the link below.
Additional background: In May of 2015, the coalition launched a report: Austin- A “Family-Friendly” City: Perspectives and Solutions from Mothers in the City. The report questioned Austin’s designation as a family-friendly city with research and analysis pointing to the growing inequities we are facing locally. One recommendation in the report made by the community coalition was for the city to develop and implement an Equity Assessment Tool. These community based stakeholders worked closely with various City Council members and the mayor to develop a resolution to address these inequities. Resolution # 20150507-027 passed in May 2015 and designated the city government to focus on the work of advancing racial equity in Austin. Currently the community coalition is working with city council and community members to develop and implement the actions of the resolution.
Here are links to the documents:
Resolution # 20150507-027- http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=230400
Austin- A “Family-Friendly” City report- https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2434010-mamasana-book-final.html