The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday approved the formation of the City Manager’s Diversity Task Force, a group made up of city staff and LGBT community leaders created to specifically address LGBT issues, including questions over the June 28 raid on the Rainbow Lounge.
The task force’s mission is "to advise the city manager on issues affecting LGBT citizens" and "to coordinate the city’s activities in response to those issues," according to information released by the city manager’s office.
The task force’s first meeting was set for Thursday afternoon, July 23. Items on the agenda included an update from Police Chief Jeff Halstead on the Rainbow Lounge investigation, discussion of LGBT sensitivity training for all city employees led by Human Resources Director Karen Marshall, presentations by Community Relations Director Vanessa Boling on community awareness of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance and policies on inclusiveness and communication between city officials and the LGBT community, and the appointment of subcommittees.
Task force members from the city are assistant city managers Fernando Costa, Charles Daniels, Tom Higgins and Karen Montgomery, the city manager’s chief of staff Shirley Little, Boling and Public Education Specialist Veronica Villegas from Community Relations, Marshal, Halstead, Fort Worth PD’s new LGBT liaison Officer Sara Straten, Diversity Advisory Committee Chair Karen Edwards-Fisher and District 8 council aide Will Trevino.
District 8 is represented by openly gay Councilmember Joel Burns.
Community leaders on the task force are Estrus Tucker and Lisa Thomas with the city’s Human Relations Commission, Jon Nelson with Fairness Fort Worth, CPA Robert Fernandez of Fernandez and Co., Samaritan House Executive Director Steve Dutton, openly gay Fort Worth Independent School District trustee Carlos Vasquez, Scott Bellen of Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats, Cheryl Kimberling with the Multicultural Alliance, Joan Kline of Kline & Co., Brendan Peoples with the Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington, Ware & Associates Executive Vice President Reba Henry, Q Cinema founder Todd Camp, Fort Worth Partnership for Community Development President and CWO Charlotte Sobel and political consultant J.D. Angle with Angle Mastagni Mathews, who is also Councilmember Burns’ partner.
Watch DallasVoice.com on Friday, July 24 for an update on the task force’s first meeting.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2009.