Community Disproportionality Group Discusses Important Neighborhood Strategies

Community Disproportionality Group Discusses Important Neighborhood Strategies

By Frances Gonzalez-Boyd

 

 

 

In the earlystages, the Taylor County Citizens United to Address Disproportionality became the organization’s voted name by a small number of concerned communitymembers. Today, community leaders arepreparing to soon take action to complete some of the short and long term goalsof the committee. It will launch themission that will help illuminate racial disparities that affect Black andHispanic children caused by an archaic system of Child Protective Services. {{more}} Citizens that met at the recentApril meeting that was held at G.V. Daniels Community Center discussed severalissues that pertain to the strategies already on an Anti-Racist Chart. Otherideas were added to the list with hope that regulars will recruit volunteers tocontribute to reach out to the community in an effort to start dealing first handwith the crisis at hand. The issues were more concerns that led to implementinga plan that includes short term and long term goals. Some of the short term goals on thelist include: increase representation of diversity and communication andsustaining a population increase. Some CUAD Long term goals include: expandingbeyond Taylor County, having Town Hall meetings, forming an investigation team, inviting businessleadership, engaging complete religious community, and creating a one-stop,which also includes lots of prayer. Since the beginning many of the short termgoals have already transpired. One important goal that is currently transpiringis the expansion of other CUADS within the state of Texas. Some of the leaders of the Taylor County CUADcommittee include CPS Director Bit Whitaker, City of Abilene Accountant OtisDolton, Chair, NAACP President Petty Hunter, Assistant Chair Theresa James and Disporportionality& Disparities Specialist Sharon Owens. One of the areas that the committeeupdated on in each meeting is Education and how Texas schools are affected bypossible disparities. “I answered to amonthly call from Austin’s Council across the State. There was a reference forschool districts to put on employment in two offices by the Center of theDepartment of Justice to study practices of discipline action. Our district wasavailable to start as partners.” Hunter said.He also shared that he is waiting to hear back from a State Officer. Thedata has shown what is going on in our school. Hunter has been updating the groupabout different areas he has been involved in. He has been sharing about theStakeholder Undoing Racism Training which is planned for Friday, May 11.Participants would be “stakeholders” from around the city. This group ofattendees represents community-based organizations, local, state and countygovernment, the faith-based community, universities, school districts, advocacyorganizations, the judiciary and broader legal community, and many otherentities, as well as constituents who have experienced and have been recipientsof state services, according to Hunter. An amazing turnout of people fromthe community has shown up twice. Once at the Town Hall Meeting that was heldat Clack Middle School that brought several leaders that included lawyers,judges, and parents. Up to date information about the CUAD’S mission wasaddressed and some of the audience that included concerned parents were able toask questions to the committee leaders. This past March, the CUAD meeting was led by Chief StanStandridge who provided a PowerPoint presentation at the Abilene PoliceDepartment’s Racial Profiling Data for 2011, to investigate statistics withinpolice records for any racial disparities.According to APD Chief Standridge in his recent April 2012 article, heshares with the community that police policy stipulates that sworn peaceofficers and non sworn personnel are strictly prohibited from engaging biasbased profiling or racial profiling in traffic contacts, field contacts,asset seizure and forfeiture, arrests orany other law enforcement effort. Additionally, any person who believes racialprofiling or bias based profiling with respect to that person, may file acomplaint with the department, and no person shall be discouraged, intimidatedor coerced from filing such a complaint or be discriminated against becausethey have filed such a complaint. Standridge shares that police administrationtakes these matters seriously and racial profiling is strictly prohibited. Standridge recently found more detailed dataand made it available for the committee after new questions were created forhim. During the last CUAD meeting questions and concerns wereraised by DaCipher Director Robert Lilly about who should be the ones to reachout to the parents and individuals who have actually experienced possibledisparities and discrimination by agencies like CPS in reference to theirchildren. According to Lilly, the pastors of the neighboring churches should bethe main ones to reach out to the population who are the target audienceneeding the education, information, and counseling in reference to local CAUD.Other updates were given by committee leaders. DirectorBit Whitaker gives information about the Think Tank in the area of education. TheCommunity Response Team is comprised of Dolton, Hunter and James. As themonthly group meets, the reports are reaching the stages of future action tocontinue the mission of the program. The vision of the CUAD overall is to helpfamilies be united with their children and help prevent further disparities inreference to color or race. Thecommunity is invited to go to each monthly meeting to be further informed andalso find out how they can make a positive difference in the community to helpbring improvement about.