New Report Quantifies How Racism Impacts Black Austinites

And demands action from city government

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A new report reveals that in Austin, the median Black household earned 54 cents for every dollar earned by the median white household in 2019.

The report, titled “The State of Black Lives in Austin,” examines the issues faced by Black Austinites in six sections: Arts and Culture, Business and Economics, Employment and Education, Health and Wellness, Neighborhood Sustainability, and Community Safety. A collaboration between the nonprofit Measure and community organization Austin Justice Coalition, the paper calls for the city to address these challenges by taking transformative measures.

“The report envisions a future where Black residents of Austin live free from oppression, with access to healthcare, wellness, education, capital, and justice,” said Chas Moore, founder of the Austin Justice Coalition, in a press release. “The journey towards racial justice in Austin is ongoing, and this report provides a roadmap for the city to follow.”

Another finding shows that Black Austin ISD students accounted for 17% of those referred to law enforcement or involved in school-related arrests while only accounting for 6% of the student body in the 2019-20 school year. Also stated was that Black people constituted 15% of traffic stops and 25% of arrests while making up only 7.5% of the city’s population.

As a whole, the paper is juxtaposed with the 2008 African American Quality of Life Report, which was reported by the city of Austin and assessed similar data. However, the 2024 report found many of the initiatives outlined in the 2008 report were not fully implemented. The report concludes with a demand for the city to go beyond “symbolic gestures and piecemeal solutions” to achieve racial justice.

“The path forward must move from performative partnerships to accountable co-governance models that mobilize Black Austinites to lead local development agendas, direct funding priorities, overhaul failed institutions, build generational wealth, celebrate Black culture without appropriation, and help every Black resident thrive,” the report said.

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