Dallas Holds Community Conversations Over Racial Equity Plan

Dallas city leaders adopted the plan addressing racial and class inequity on Aug. 24

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Dallas city officials are hosting a series of community conversations centered around its recently adopted racial equity plan.

The plan calls for a major transformation of city government operations and spending in an effort to reverse the impact of racial bias in many neighborhoods. It was adopted on Aug. 24.

Dr. Lindsey Wilson, director of Dallas’ Office of Equity and Inclusion, says the next step is to continue community engagement. This week, two community conversations were held to give residents an opportunity to voice community concerns and comments.

The community conversation Saturday was held at the Hampton-Illinois Library Branch in Dallas.

“What the plan does is, it’s a strategic framework to help address the disparities that we see here in the city of Dallas based off race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status,” Dr. Wilson said.

Wilson said the plan is two-fold with participation from every city department reporting measurable progress. The plan addresses goals in five main areas: workforce and community development, housing, infrastructure, public safety and wellness, and environmental justice.

“When we’re talking about environmental justice, we’re really talking about addressing the disproportionate impact that pollution, climate issues such as air quality and so forth have on historically disadvantaged communities,” Wilson said. "The air quality, depending on where one may live and what is surrounding them…they disproportionately impact their health.”

The plan states in Dallas, pollution disproportionately affects historically disadvantaged communities, contributing to "poorer health and developing chronic illnesses such as asthma.”

On Saturday, Dallas resident Linda Bates participated in the city-led community conversation. Bates grew up in West Dallas and now lives in Oak Cliff.

“Since we grew up in West Dallas, they asked me how long I smoked. I tell them, all my life because I smoke contaminants,” Bates said. “Right now, my body…58 years later, [it’s] breaking down. I had cancer. They did a biopsy yesterday for another cancer.”

Bates still has family in West Dallas and said she wants better for their futures.

“We are sick. West Dallas is sick,” she said. “It’s an environmental matter that’s been going on years. It’s not helping us. It’s harming us more to live.”

According to Wilson, there will be more community conversations throughout the month of October.

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