After deciding that a panel chosen for a new racial equity task force was not diverse enough, the Martinez City Council on Wednesday will discuss starting their recruitment process over again for what may be a larger task force than first imagined.
On Wednesday night, the council will consider not only formally establishing the Anti-Racism and Discrimination and Pro-Inclusion and Equity Task Force, but also to start over on their panelist recruitment process.
The council also will consider whether to make the task force larger than the originally planned nine members. A city staff report suggests that, in addition to the nine members and two alternates previously approved, that each council member could personally appoint one member to the task force.
The City Council first approved the concept for such a panel on July 29. Its main tasks would be to review city policies, programs and procedures for bias, and to help make city committees and commissions more inclusive. The idea was suggested after several incidents in Martinez following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and subsequent public discussions about racism and “Black Lives Matter” in the city.
The city sought applications for prospective panelists, and chose a six-person “community panel” to interview and then select at least nine prospective task force members. The first panel presented to the council on Oct. 21 included only one Black member.
Council members, including Mark Ross and Lara Delaney, acknowledged on Oct. 21 that the task force members as nominated were not diverse enough, and that the city needs to “go back to the drawing board,” mainly with the recruitment process.
Wednesday’s City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m., and it’s on Zoom. More information can be found on the city’s website.