Austin Human Rights Commission hold inclusiveness discussion, looks to present findings to council

Published 7:48 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Austin Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the city of Austin, the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Riverland Community College, held the “Building a More Inclusive Austin” community conversation on Tuesday evening at the Hormel Historic Home.

Continuing the work done by the AHRC in its 2017 “Welcoming Report,” which identified various barriers in place that prevented Austin from being a more welcoming community, ideas were discussed on how to lower those barriers. Over 100 people were in attendance.

“(The meeting was) a very productive process that allowed us to understand quantitatively and qualitatively where the community has the most interest, and how to make those ideas successful,” said AHRC Director Jason Baskin.

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According to Baskin, some of the top ideas included:

• Establishing a multicultural liaison position;

• Developing a My City Academy program to educate residents on how local government works and proactively get them involved on government boards and commissions (this is based on a pilot program done last year in Nashville); and

• Creating a multicultural friendship/mentorship program to build one-on-one relationships between small groups of people in a meaningful way.

Baskin also said there were some ideas that they hope to implement this summer.

The AHRC hopes to present its findings to the Austin City Council on May 21.

“It should lead to some actionable ideas that will create real change,” Baskin said.