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Discussing task force on racial and ethnic disparities in West Palm Beach

Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 09:56:00-04

The task force created to look at racial and ethnic disparities in West Palm Beach will present its findings to the city commission.

Patrick Franklin, President and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County, is the co-chair of the task force. He told WPTV’s Michael Williams the task force looked at many issues and will present short and long term solutions to commissioners.

Discussing task force on racial and ethnic disparities in West Palm Beach

"We are going to be talking about community policing, we are going to be talking about police reform and we are going to give pinpointed solutions on how we think the city should move forward to put away some of the disparities,” Franklin told Williams on To the Point. “We are going to be looking at inequalities in education and coverage in healthcare and accessibility to affordable health care.”

Franklin admits some of the solutions will take time to complete, but says this is just the first step in the process to end disparities that came up after the arrest of George Floyd in 2020.

"It's a building block that the next group after us will be able to take and build upon and move in a forward direction," Franklin said.

Debate over the proposed infrastructure bill

The focus of racial and ethnic disparities is not just a focus in West Palm Beach, Franklin is also advocating for changes nationwide. He wishes Congress would pass legislation to address the issues.

"I am disappointed that we have not passed the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. I'm disappointed that we have not passed the John Lewis voting rights act. These are things that people struggle with, especially minorities. We are trying to gain a voice and make sure our issues are heard," Franklin said.

Franklin also addressed the spending bills President Joe Biden has proposed. Congress is currently working on deals to get them passed, but if it becomes law it would invest trillions of dollars into infrastructure, health care, education and climate programs. Franklin said the bills would affect everyone, from young children to adults.

“Reinvesting in the United States will bring back jobs. It will bring back the spirit of the community here in the United States. It will help to bring back manufacturing that we have lost over the last 20 to 30 years,” Franklin said. “It is vital. We need to invest in the people of America because the people of America have invested everything they have into the democracy of America."

Closing comments with Brian Crowley

The Urban League of Palm Beach County has also made a big push to get the vaccination rates in the county up. Franklin said he applauds local business owners who have created vaccine mandates for employees.

“We have almost 80 million people in the United States that are refusing to take the vaccine. I want you to think about it. I want you to reconsider because it is not just about your health, it's about all of our health and if we are going to be safe and live in a safe and healthy environment we need to get the vaccine," Franklin said.

Currently, 74% of eligible people in Palm Beach County are vaccinated.

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