AfriGeneas States Research Forum
[TX] Helping African-American Businesses
05/26/05 - 9:55 pm
A month after several public forums, the city manager is ready with recommendations on how to improve the quality of life for African-Americans in Austin.
"Whatever we do here today, we need to make sure we are not back here in five years with the same findings and no progress," city manager Toby Futrell said.
A room packed full of business leaders, doctors, politicians and concerned Austinites all with one common goal to improve the quality of life for an often overlooked segment of the population.
"I've been there since 1980. I built from the ground up, and since then, no one else has come out there," Minny's Beauty Salon owner Leonard Mann said.
Mann, born and bred Austinite, started Minny's Beauty Salon in East Austin 25 years ago. He participated in the city held forums and says throughout he's seen one overriding issue.
"Black businesses are declining. Why? In most cases its because you can't get the money," Mann said.
That's one of the recommendations the city manager is making to the council.
Futrell is also asking the Convention and Visitors Bureau to help market black businesses and events, for the city to create a cultural fund to spur African-American awareness, for the police department to train their officers on cultural sensitivity and for AISD to work with African-American students in low-performing schools.
"What we're going to do in this approach is work with the community on an on-going basis. That's why I'm very confident that we're going to be able to obtain some sustainable changes," Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald said.
Now, the presentation just got started at 8 p.m. Thursday, and there were 20 people listed to speak.
The meeting was still going on late Thursday evening, but the Assistant City Manager says as soon as the council decides what recommendations to follow, work will begin on making changes.