A racial equity resolution received unanimous approval from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and the entire city council Wednesday.
The resolution promotes racial equity in all city policies and spending. It encourages educational efforts aimed at addressing and dismantling racism and calls for the completion of a city racial equity plan.
Councilman Casey Thomas, a former Dallas NAACP President, said the resolution is further evidence of efforts the City of Dallas has been making toward equity.
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“This is a historical day for the City of Dallas, a city where at one point in time, the individual who sits in the seat of the mayor and several of us, were members of the Klu Klux Klan,” Thomas said.
On many occasions, Thomas has pointed out that equity is different than equality. Equity may require more than equal to make up for past inequity.
North Dallas Council Member Jennifer Gates received assurances that the resolution would apply to city efforts to promote affordable housing. She said the re-development of older apartments is putting pressure on tenants who need less expensive dwellings.
“I’m supportive of this. I think we need to make sure these resolutions actually end up with some teeth,” Gates said.
Councilman Tennell Atkins, who represents District 8 that sprawls across far southern Dallas, said the resolution must apply to city budgets.
“We cannot unite this equity without dollars. We can talk about it, but we’ve got to put dollars there,” Atkins said.
City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he has been using an equity lens in budget decisions and will continue to pursue additional spending for historically underserved areas.
“What’s good for the least among us in certain areas in this community is good for the entire community, because it brings a balance when it comes to tax base as well as resources that don’t have to be oversaturated in certain areas because of certain types of conditions. So again, that’s what I’ve been doing my entire career. I’ll continue doing it as long as council lets me and supports me. And this resolution seems to be giving me that guidance and support,” Broadnax said. “You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is. And we’ll try to do that.”
The City Manager said the changes will take time but he considered Wednesday’s resolution as an important step.