AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Mayor Steve Adler says now is the time to correct the wrongs of Austin’s past.
"I believe that's a moral obligation that we share to ensure that everyone has a just and equitable chance to succeed without coming to the starting line carting the burdens that were created in the past," says Adler.
"Those of us living in Austin today are not responsible for the prejudiced policies in our past, we weren’t there, we didn't do those things but we are here now and we bear the present responsibility to mitigate the impact of policy that was put in before," Adler adds.
According to the mayor, policies in the city's history have put up barriers around certain communities of color especially the Black community.
"In 1928 when we forced everyone who was black to the eastern part of the city, made them give up their homes and we actually denied them utility services who found them on the wrong side of the assigned place in our city," Adler says.
Right now, the city will be working with the University of Texas and research ways to better help these communities, especially those on the eastside. While the exact solutions are still unknown at this time, they could include investing more in schools, broadband, health care, businesses, or even restitution if the research shows it could have an impact.
"To do something is really important, you can't take a group of people and deny them opportunities generation after generation and leave them in a position where they are way behind at the start of the race," says Adler.
Austin is not alone in addressing this issue. Adler says he has been in talks with about a dozen other mayors across the country looking to do something similar.
"This is something Austin is doing together with other cities, some of who are ahead of where we are, trying new policies and practices but it's a growing number of cities," Adler says.