City Of Akron’s Racial Equity And Social Justice Taskforce Releases Quarter Two Subcommittee Reports
Akron, Ohio, July 14, 2021—Last June, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Council President Margo Sommerville declared racism as a public health crisis with the support of Akron City Council. That declaration led to the creation of a Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Taskforce assembled for the purpose of developing a pro-equity strategic plan responsive to this crisis.
The RESJ Taskforce consists of an Executive Committee, with additional Subcommittees on specific topics. The Executive Committee of the RESJ Taskforce, appointed by the Mayor and Council President and approved by City Council, includes 29 community members from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. The Taskforce’s mission is to build public trust in the community by formulating meaningful recommendations of policy change to create a more racially equitable, socially just community and to bridge the racial wealth divide in the City of Akron. These recommendations will be outlined in a five-year Strategic Plan, which will be delivered to the Mayor, City Council, and the community by December 2021.
The City’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force released their second quarterly reports last night. The Quarter 2 reportssummarize the work of the six subcommittees during the second quarter of 2021. The Quarter 1 reports were released in April this year.
The Quarter 2 subcommittee reports begin to establish a framework of recommendations utilizing best practices from other cities. Bishop Johnson advised the group to be thoughtful in their recommendations and to follow an outline citing literature reviews with potential policy recommendations for the Taskforce Executive Committee to review.
“I'm proud to be connected to this group of leaders who are releasing their Quarter Two reports from the subcommittees of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Taskforce. The reports demonstrate meaningful progress towards making Akron a more equitable place for everyone,” said Bishop Joey Johnson, Taskforce Chair.
In the second of the Taskforce’s quarterly subcommittee reports, updates include:
Establishing a communications framework derived from best practices across the United States. The framework approach is recommended as a means for the City to continually adapt to an evolving social, cultural and economic environment unique to Akron.
Criminal Justice Subcommittee
Researching several areas of the City of Akron Police Department, including police accountability mechanisms, a police auditor and civilian oversight board, body-worn camera legislation and policy, police training, hiring and promotion practices, and community policing models.
Reviewing best practices and policy changes in the following areas: student access, student-centered learning and closing the achievement gap, pandemic recovery, cultural responsiveness, and fiscal transparency.
Equitable Workforce Development Subcommittee
Investigating four areas of workforce development, including: the City creating a pipeline of diverse talent prepared to fulfill the good paying jobs/careers available within the City; the City implementing a plan for outreach in diverse communities and removing biases from the interviewing and selection processes; professional development and retention processes the City of Akron should consider for minorities and people of color within its employ; and additional opportunities to support the growth of small, minority-owned businesses.
Highlights four potential policy recommendations focused on addressing the root causes of inequities that exist in practices, policies and organizational structures of public health and healthcare systems.
Researching best practices to inform their recommendation which are intended to increase the number of inclusive, healthy neighborhoods in Akron, and which will increase fair access to opportunities for economic advancement and mobility.
“The second quarter reports illustrate just how much work lies ahead,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “I want to thank the members of the Taskforce and the subcommittees for their continued dedication to researching, identifying, and customizing solutions that will work for Akron and our institutions. This is important, generational work that will ultimately help us redesign systems so they better serve all people in our community.”
The third quarter subcommittee reports are due in October, with the culmination of final findings and recommendations from the Task Force due at the end of the year.
For further information, contact: Carla Davis RESJ Taskforce Communications Subcommittee Chair Phone: 330-643-9090