ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Mayor Anthony Williams addressed the City’s current and past involvement with racial relations, saying, “Abilene is different.”
He gave a brief speech during Monday’s city council meeting, which began with remarks on this weekend’s peaceful protest – a stark contrast to many others which became violent across the nation.
This peace, Mayor Williams says, is largely due to the public and law enforcement members willing to work side-by-side.
Several police officers were at the protest to their support this weekend, and Chief Stan Standridge even gave a speech, and this involvement is what Mayor Williams says makes Abilene unique.
“A number of citizens in this community have worked very, very hard to make Abilene different,” Mayor Williams says.
He then described the history of racial relations in the City, beginning with a Human Relations task force that met monthly for 13 years to discuss and act on race issues in Abilene.
This committee, made up of men and women from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, is the reason why the MLK banquet occurs each year and why Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated in schools – just one of many examples of how the community impacted racial relations in Abilene before its sunset in 2002.
Later, in 2008, the Abilene Neighborhood Initiative began as an effort to help all citizens feel included, and local police play a big role in the organization.
Events such as barbecues, block parties, and more are now staples that bring neighborhoods together all across Abilene.
Mayor Williams believes the City’s investment in racial relations is the reason why there was no looting or rioting at this weekend’s protest.
“Abilene is different,” Mayor Williams emphasizes. “Not perfect – but we’re different.”
Council members Travis Craver and Weldon Hurt also gave comment on race in Abilene at Monday’s meeting. Watch their responses in the video below:
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