Effort underway to move Racial Equity Commission formed

May 10—ANDERSON — An effort is being made to breathe new life into the Anderson Commission for Racial Equity.

The Anderson City Council approved the creation of the commission in December 2022, but it has not been active for the past 18 months.

Angie Strickler, a proponent of the initiative, said the commission was never formed.

She asked the council to appoint a member to the commission, and Councilwoman Tiffany Harless was appointed.

Strickler said that a year ago, there were four responses from organizations that would have been a part of the commission.

"We're starting over at this point," she said. "The goals have not been set."

Strickler said the Commission for Racial Equity can only make recommendations.

Councilman Ollie H. Dixon said the commission and the council should brainstorm ideas for working together to establish goals and objectives.

As proposed in the ordinance, the commission would partner with several groups including the Madison County Health Department, Minority Health Coalition, JobSource, the Anderson police and fire departments and the Anderson Housing Authority.

The goal of the commission is to assure equitable access to health care, education, employment and housing in the city.

The original ordinance was adopted during the administration of former Mayor J. Mark Lawler.

The original ordinance's purpose was to ensure equal access to health, education, employment and housing in Anderson.

Strickler pointed out that in 2022, the city council adopted an ordinance that categorized racial discrimination as a health hazard.

The commission would consist of between 11 and 25 members who would reflect the diverse population of Anderson.

Commission members will create by-laws and have authority to appoint subcommittees and advisory committees and make recommendations on city government policies that will further its goals.

A fund for donations to the commission will be created, and expenditures could be made without council approval.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.