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Council calls for empathy and action

Monday, December 14, 2020 by Katy McElroy

At its last meeting, City Council endorsed Compassion 2020, an initiative spearheaded by Citizen Discourse and United Way campaigning for a just, compassionate and anti-racist society. The resolution, authored by Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison and co-sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and Council members Jimmy Flannigan, Pio Renteria and Ann Kitchen, also directs the city manager to develop a social contract. This document will serve “as a written agreement outlining a community’s core values and (instruct) the direction of laws, regulations, policies, contracts, culture and more,” according to the resolution. The resolution states that Compassion 2020‘s Compassion Contract, which includes such values as “be respectful, listen to understand, act with good intentions, support ideas with evidence and experience, disagree without being disagreeable, critique the idea not the person, and invite wonder,” will serve as the model for Austin’s contract. Supporters hope that Austin’s resolution, which is the first of its kind in the country, will inspire other cities to officially join the initiative. The city manager will work with Austin’s Joint Inclusion Committee to craft the language of the social contract and report back to Council by June 1, 2021.

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