At the Downtown Austin Alliance, we unequivocally believe that Black lives matter.
For years, protests and demonstrations along Congress Avenue and on the steps of the Capitol have united people in an effort to ignite change. But none has rallied a cry so loud and so strong as those taking place in recent weeks.
The impassioned voices, still echoing in the streets downtown and throughout our entire community, have resonated. The community is calling for change — and so too are members of our own organization. We stand with those in the community demanding an end to racial injustice, and we are committed to doing our part.
In 2017, the Downtown Alliance engaged thousands of community members to develop a vision for downtown. The vision calls for a downtown that is vibrant, connected and welcoming for all. We recognize that we have not made sufficient progress toward this vision. Deep, systemic racism and inequities exist in our city, precluding a number of people from feeling safe and welcomed downtown.
We affirm the calls for finding solutions that work and not relying on law enforcement to address social problems, and many of the Downtown Austin Alliance’s longstanding goals and efforts have included policies for social change, such as increasing investment in mental health, community outreach, substance abuse treatment and solutions to homelessness.
As stewards of the public space where people come to gather, the Downtown Austin Alliance board and staff will set specific measurements and timelines to:
- Listen to and actively participate in community conversations to help create new strategies, systems and actions that will truly make downtown a welcoming place for all.
- Work together with our community and elected leaders to bring forward substantial changes to law enforcement that result in fair and equal public safety for all of Austin — without bias, injustice or racism.
- Chart a new way forward – dedicating our time, energy, relationships and resources to achieve positive and meaningful change downtown.
Making downtown a safe and welcoming place for all remains our priority. Now is the time to take greater action. We will answer the call, reaffirm our longstanding commitment to addressing community problems, and make a new commitment to review all we are doing and how we can be a more effective community partner for enduring change.