West Palm Beach Mayor’s Task Force for Racial & Ethnic Equality
The mission of the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality was 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 was 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 read the final Task Force Recommendation Report to see which recommendations were presented to the Mayor and the City Commission.
THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE ACTION SUMMITS!
Thank you to everyone who registered and attended the Action Summits on December 5th, 2020 and June 12th, 2021. The work of the Task Force would not have been possible without your meaningful engagement and support. For those who were unable to attend, the recordings of the Action Summits are available here.
Stay Updated! ¡Manténgase Actualizado(a)! Rete Mizajou!
Thanks to your participation, the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Equality submitted final recommendations to the Mayor and City Commission! These recommendations were influenced by your feedback and can be viewed in the final recommendation report.
“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 undertook the following projects in the following order of priority:
Identified Best Practices & Racial Disparities
Identified best practices and made recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust;
Identified 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.
Identified what knowledge and research were needed to eliminate the disparities.
Made Recommendations to the Mayor
Made 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
Created 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 Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality
WHO WAS ON THE TASK FORCE?
The Task Force was comprised of 25 members including two co-chairs. It also included 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 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 consisted of up to seven members, and researched and identified 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 was an advisory to the Mayor and provided him with regular status reports.
To stay informed about the progress of the Task Force, see the Final Recommendation Report. You can also access the agendas and minutes from previous Task Force and Subcommittee meetings in the Project Library. To view the subcommittee policy recommendations the Task Force submitted for consideration by Mayor Keith James and the City Commission, please click the links below:
- Criminal Justice Policy Recommendations
- Education & Workforce Development Policy Recommendations
- Finance, Banking & Business Policy Recommendations
- Health Policy Recommendations
- Real Estate & Housing Policy Recommendations
The City of West Palm Beach has engaged the services of Justice & Sustainability Associates, LLC to assist with this process.