Task Force on Racism

ANC 3/4G Statement on Racism

The ANC 3/4G issued a Statement on Racism on June 8, 2020, which you can read here.

Framework for the ANC 3/4G Task Force on Racism

Read the full statement of the Framework here. Below is an excerpt of the objective, mission, and deliverable.

[The] Task Force’s objective [is] to focus on substantive issues and specific actions that the Commission can take. The Commission indicated that it would establish a framework for the Task Force to guide its work, including its mission, organization, and timetable.

 

Task Force Mission — The Task Force will determine its own priorities based on input from the community, but it should place greatest emphasis on developing realistic steps that the Commission can take to impact people’s lives. The Task Force should recommend actionable items with the intent to close the racial divide.

 

The Task Force should consider specific actions that the Commission can take on the following topics:

 

1. Promoting a safe environment for all District residents, including safety from all forms of police bias;

 

2. Addressing our community’s need for more affordable housing that will promote income diversity and enrich our civic life;

 

3. Helping to immediately reduce and ultimately eliminate the health disparities between residents on the west side of Rock Creek and those who live on the east side; and

 

4. Helping to ensure the full staff resources and adjusted funding necessary to help provide a healthy and outstanding education in public schools throughout the District.

 

Resources provided must be respectful [sic] a school’s overall needs in order to correct the educational divide that currently exists, particularly east of the Anacostia River.

 

The Task Force may also address other issues, including what our community should do about symbols of our racist history that do not represent current and humanely acceptable values.

 

… The Task Force should prepare a comprehensive report with its findings and recommendations for the Commission’s consideration no later than October 15, 2020, so that the Commission may consider those recommendations at its October 26, 2020 meeting.

ANC 3/4G Task Force on Racism

The ANC 3/4G Task Force on Racism is “an opportunity for members of our community to take concrete, substantial steps to address the continuing effects of racism in our neighborhood.” The first meeting was held on July 15, 2020, which was very well attended.

Three work groups were formed–Community, Education/Health (now renamed, Education/Mental Health) and Housing–each of them met weekly from July through October. You can find notes of these virtually held work group meetings on the ANC 3/4G website here.

I joined the Housing Work Group to understand the issues and opportunities before us, to form a more educated opinion, and to work in collaboration with other members of our community. The Housing Work Group was “tasked to explore ways to begin to reverse the exclusionary housing practices of the past by encouraging a variety of housing options that will be attainable for residents with a wider range of incomes and backgrounds (taken from the Executive Summary of the Report dated November 13, 2020).”

The Task Force on Racism was expected to deliver a comprehensive report to the ANC 3/4G in October 2020. All three Work Groups wrote and delivered their reports to the full Commission on schedule and gave presentations of their reports at the October 26, 2020 ANC 3/4G Public Meeting via Zoom (see meeting minutes here; see video here; see video of housing presentation here).

After that meeting, the Work Groups incorporated the concerns and suggestions raised by Commissioners and each produced and submitted their revised reports in time for the special November 16, 2020 ANC 3/4G Town Hall Meeting via Zoom to share and discuss its recommendations with the public (see video here). About 40 residents attended the Town Hall, in addition to four current commissioners and 16 members of the Task Force.

Residents of ANC 3/4G began providing their feedback to the Commission. There appeared to be support for most of the recommendations, though a few recommendations needed more community input before the previous Commission could decide what action to take, if any. Only one Commission meeting remained — December 14, 2020 —  in the last calendar year. Beginning in January 2021, five newly elected commissioners (including me!) and two continuing commissioners are now serving on the new ANC 3/4G Commission.

According to a public notice regarding the December 14th Public Meeting posted by the ANC 3/4G Chair on November 21, 2020,

In order to round out its work on the Task Force reports, the current Commission will consider a resolution on December 14th adopting or modifying the recommendations in the Community and Education/Mental Health reports and the recommendations in the Housing report except for its recommendation 5 relating to single-family zoning. The current Commission will also consider a resolution extending and continuing the Task Force’s work, including work on the Housing group’s recommendation 5 so that the new Commission can decide what steps, if any, it will take in 2021 based on additional study and community input. The new Commission, in coordination with the Task Force, will also decide what steps it will take to implement the other recommendations adopted on December 14th.

 

… The Commission greatly appreciates Task Force members ’ dedication and commitment in researching, analyzing, and compiling the information and recommendations in their reports. We are all striving to make our community better and more inclusive, but we will not achieve these goals immediately. We encourage everyone to participate in upcoming meetings and to provide any written comments or questions on this topic to 3G@anc.dc.gov. [emphasis added]

ANC 3/4G Resolution Adopted on December 14, 2020

The previous Commission’s resolution on the Task Force on Racism can be found here. Notably, the previous Commission “defers any additional action on the reports above and beyond this resolution to the new Commission for its consideration in 2021.”

The Community Work Group’s final draft report dated November 12, 2020 can be found here.

The Education/Mental Health Work Group’s final draft report dated November 14, 2020 can be found here.

The Housing Work Group’s final draft report dated November 13, 2020 can be found here.

Why Establish a Task Force?

According to information found on the ANC 3/4G website in 2020:

“The ANC does not have standing committees, but establishes task forces or advisory groups as the need arises. Membership may include one or more ANC commissioners and interested members of the community. You may volunteer to work on a task force or advisory group OR request that ANC 3/4G consider establishing a task force or advisory group on any issue that affects a significant number of people in the community by contacting the ANC Office or making your proposal at an ANC meeting.”

However, updated ANC 3/4G Bylaws adopted at the first public meeting of 2021 on January 11, 2021 allows for standing committees as an advisory body. The language can be found in Article VI. Committees/Task Forces beginning on page 13 in the current Bylaws.

The new Commission is considering whether the task force should remain as is and for what length of time or be restructured as a standing committee to the new Commission.

I encourage the community to pay attention to the noticing of upcoming public meetings for a discussion on the Task Force on Racism.