West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James announces the establishment of the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality, which was created by Executive Order 2020-13 and 2020-13A, signed by Mayor James on July 7, 2020. The establishment of the Task Force comes 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 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.
Comprised of up to 17 members, the Task Force shall include representatives as following:
- 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.
Additionally, Mayor James established five, fact-finding subcommittees to investigate, study and report findings to the Task Force in the areas of: criminal justice; health; real estate and housing; finance, banking and industry; and education, including workforce development. Each subcommittee, which may consist of up to seven members, will research and identify the following:
- Opportunities to learn and raise awareness of the history of systemic patterns of racial and ethnic inequities within the City, and
- 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.
The Task Force is to undertake the following projects in the following order of priority:
- 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;
- Making recommendations regarding ways to reduce these disparities and to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust; and
- Identifying what knowledge and research are needed to eliminate the disparities.
- Create a platform to build resources to help people talk, learn, and teach our City’s history of racial and ethnic injustices.
“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,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “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.”
The Task Force shall be advisory to the Mayor and provide status reports to the Mayor. The Task Force shall submit the first status report to the Mayor on or before October 15, 2020. Thereafter, the Task Force shall provide the Mayor with a status report on or before the sixth week following the submission of the previous report. The Task Force shall ensure notice of meetings is received in all City districts to encourage public participation.
If you have an interest in taking part in Mayor's Task Force,
please complete the Expression of Interest Form.
To view Executive Order 2020-13A, please follow this link.