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Task force for racial and ethnic equality report in

Initiative focuses on 5 areas with significant community input
Posted at 10:40 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 22:40:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After a year's wait, a report is in on just how to address issues of racial and ethnic inequality within West Palm Beach.

"A D bordering on an F," John Stroman said.

That's the only grade the 76-year-old can come up with for the city of West Palm Beach when dealing with minorities.

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"No, they've never treated them well," he said.

As Stroman ponders his opinions sitting outside his house, inside City Hall, city council members gets a briefing on the final report of Mayor Keith James' "task force for racial and ethnic equality."

"These are issues that have been embedded in our community and our society for hundreds of years," James said.

The idea came about after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"My advice and instructions to the task force were, I'd much rather this be right than rushed," he said.

The initiative focuses on five areas with significant community input.

For example, criminal justice is a priority. Several recommendations include creating a civilian review board to implementing strategies to maintain a diverse team at the police department.

Other topics include real estate and housing, finance and education.

Suggestions for health care include mobile services for medical needs and increased attention on mental health.

Michelle Diffenderfer is instrumental in the policy's outcome.

"Could there be more than the task force could have come up with? Yes, but we needed to make sure that we identified things that were present today," she said. "We also needed to find things that we could fix short term, midterm and long-term."

Back on Stroman's stoop, he said the need for help's long overdue.

"We're in serious trouble," he said.

So where does the city go from here? City leaders are planning several workshops for folks to attend to figure out what area they need to focus on first.