West Palm Beach Mayor’s Task Force on Racial & Ethnic Equality
The mission of the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality is to identify and help address issues of racial/ethnic equity through education about racial and ethnic inequities, research of best practices, and issuance of policy/funding recommendations to address racial/ethnic inequity in the City of West Palm Beach.
The Task Force is in line with Mayor James’ vision of working to create a “Community of Opportunity for All”, whereby any citizen can achieve their dreams in West Palm Beach.
We encourage you to attend the meetings of the Task Force subcommittees and our upcoming Racial & Ethnic Equality Action Summit on June 12th. The Summit will take place virtually via Zoom and at four satellite locations in various areas of West Palm Beach.
Find out about these and other opportunities to get involved !
JOIN US AT THE ACTION SUMMIT!
At this virtual gathering on June 12th, Task Force Subcommittees will share their current priorities and progress working to address racial/ethnic disparities related to the topics you care about: criminal justice, health, education, workforce development, finance, banking, business, housing and real estate.
And YOU and your neighbors will have an opportunity to discuss and decide on next steps for the Mayor’s Task Force.
The Summit will held on Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 10 am – 2 pm. It is FREE and will take place on Zoom, with additional satellite locations across the city for those with limited or no Internet access. Learn how you can get involved in the work of the Task Force and how to help spread the word about the summit.
“At a time when both our nation and our city are at an inflection point, this task force has the ability to bring about lasting, transformative change to improve the lives of our residents and for future generations.
The Task Force will help us create a culture in which racial and ethnic disparities are openly acknowledged and addressed to achieve ethnic and cultural equity across our City.”
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James
KEY ISSUE AREAS
How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding the criminal justice system, including policing?
Education & Workforce Development
How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding education and workforce development?
Finance, Banking & Business
How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity related to wealth-building, banking, business development and jobs?
How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding health access and healthcare?
Real Estate & Housing
How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity related to housing and real estate?
PRIORITIES OF THE TASK FORCE
The Task Force is undertaking the following projects in the following order of priority:
Identify Best Practices & Racial Disparities
Identify best practices and make recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust;
Identify racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare, economic development, criminal and civil justice systems, police practices, housing, and education with a focus on:
- What racial and ethnic disparities exist;
- Why the racial and ethnic disparities exist.
Identify what knowledge and research are needed to eliminate the disparities.
Make Recommendations to the Mayor
Make recommendations regarding ways to reduce these disparities and to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.
Engage, Listen, Learn From and Educate the Community
Create a platform to build resources to help people talk, learn, and teach our City’s history of racial and ethnic injustices.
Video: West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James names Michelle Diffenderfer and Patrick Franklin as Co-Chairs of the newly formed Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality
WHO IS ON THE TASK FORCE?
The Task Force is comprised of 25 members including two co-chairs. It also includes representatives as follows:
- One member designated by the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce;
- One member designated by the Executive Director of the Black Chamber of Commerce;
- One member designated by the Executive Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
- One member representing the Mayor’s Office;
- One member of the law enforcement community;
- One member representing the State Attorney’s Office;
- One member representing the Public Defender’s Office; and
- Other members as appointed by the Mayor.
Check out the complete list of Task Force members and their bios here.
5 Fact-Finding Subcommittees
Mayor James has also established 5 fact-finding subcommittees to investigate, study and report findings to the Task Force in the areas of:
- criminal justice
- education and workforce development
- finance, banking & business
- real estate and housing
Each subcommittee consists of up to seven members, and is researching and identifying the following:
- Opportunities to learn and raise awareness of the history of systemic patterns of racial and ethnic inequities within the City;
- Best practices to address systemic patterns of racial and ethnic disparities; and
- Policy and funding sources available to address systemic patterns of racial and ethnic inequity.
See the list of subcommittee members here.
WHEN, WHERE & HOW?
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James created the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality by Executive Order 2020-13, 2020-13A, and 2020-13B, which he signed over the months of July and August, 2020. The establishment of the Task Force came on the heels of calls for both local and national change in the wake of recent incidents that ignited outrage, exposed deeply entrenched systemic racism in our country, and challenged the public’s confidence and trust in our system of policing and criminal justice.
The Task Force is an advisory to the Mayor and provides status reports to the Mayor.
To stay informed about the progress of the Task Force, see Project Updates or the Calendar of upcoming meetings. You can also access the agendas and minutes from previous Task Force and Subcommittee meetings in the Project Library. You may attend both the virtual Task Force and Subcommittee meetings, held via Zoom; at the subcommittee meetings you can share questions and comments. The Zoom links for these meetings are provided in the Calendar.
At the upcoming Racial & Ethnic Equality Action Summit on Saturday, June 12, 2021 (a virtual event), you will have an opportunity to hear about the progress of the Task Force and its subcommittees. You will also be invited to discuss and share in the decision-making regarding the priorities identified by the Task Force. The initial priorities were identified by West Palm Beach residents and stakeholders at the Racial & Ethnic Equality Action Summit on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020.
The City of West Palm Beach has engaged the services of Justice & Sustainability Associates, LLC to assist with this process.