Monday, August 10, 2020

From Ferguson to Fort Worth

ferguson protestorsFort Worth’s Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC), the NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service decided to come together to form a civil/human rights coalition. The purpose of the new organization is to support each others’ causes and to handle all cases of discriminatory nature in Fort Worth.

The hope wad that together they will become a stronger entity; they will bridge the race gap, and they will be able to address the issues of discrimination in Fort Worth more assertively.

On March 12, 2005, United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the cities for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice and Fort Worth, Texas was selected.

Because of the committed work of Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason of the Office of Justice Programs and with the partnership of Department components including the COPS Office, the Civil Rights Division, the Community Relations Service and the Office on Violence Against Women, DOJ is redoubling its commitment to restoring faith in the integrity of law enforcement wherever that faith has been eroded. 

There are three significant new steps the DOJ is taking as part of this exciting initiative.

First, we have selected six cities to serve as pilot sites for innovative strategies to strengthen bonds between police and citizens they serve: Birmingham, Alabama; Stockton, California; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Fort Worth, Texas.  By helping to develop programs that serve their own diverse experiences, these cities will stand on the leading edge of our effort to confront pressing issues in communities across the country.

Second, we have launched a new online resource, available at trustandjustice.org, which will advance cutting-edge research and information about best practices and trust-building policy.

Third, we’re offering training, mentoring, expert consultations, and assistance on racial reconciliation directly to police departments and communities across America through the Office of Justice Programs’ Diagnostic Center.

These are groundbreaking advances—but the Department of Justice will not accomplish these goals alone.  We will continue to work side-by-side with law enforcement to identify opportunities for positive change.  And we will work with communities to seek avenues for building more healthy environments.

One year ago, the Obama Administration launched the groundbreaking My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to create opportunities for all young people in this country to improve their lives and reach their full potential—no matter who they are or where they live.  As a part of this effort, the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force recommended that the Justice Department establish a program to help resolve long-standing tensions between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.  And six months ago, I was proud to announce the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice—a nationwide program designed to enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation.

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