Metro Council Minority Caucus addresses equality agenda

Posted at 10:55 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-13 00:15:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro’s minority lawmakers say they are looking for action from Mayor John Cooper following protests in Nashville, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd. The caucus says they want to see more from the mayor, specifically the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer.

"Laser focus activity," said Metro Councilwoman-at-Large Sharon Hurt, the chair of the Metro Council Minority Caucus. "The minority caucus believes they should have one single source of accountability - for someone to speak and act on behalf on behalf of the diverse community that Nashville has."

It’s just one of several changes the minority caucus is asking Mayor John Cooper to make. Cooper has already announced one of the changes - a full rollout of body cameras on police officers.

But the Minority Caucus says Mayor Cooper hasn't responded to their other concerns, like monthly meetings between the police chief and the Community Oversight Board, assurance that a fair share of federal COVID-19 money will directly benefit the black community and more economic equity for Metro contracts for black businesses.

Hurt says addressing those issues may help address some of the pain behind Nashville’s recent protests.

"I read earlier that justice looks like love in public," Hurt said. "The protest is a cry from the people asking for there to be love shown to them, in a place they need it most."

The Mayor’s office released the following statement in response to the issues raised by the Metro Council Minority Caucus:

"As the Mayor has previously stated, he is listening to and actively engaged with members of Nashville’s Black community, including members of the Metro Council’s Minority Caucus, to work towards real, lasting solutions to address systemic racial injustice. To date, the Mayor has directed a comprehensive use-of-force review across the Metro Nashville Police Department, the full deployment of body-worn cameras for improved accountability between our community and public safety personnel, and committed to a $24 million investment in MNPS to help bridge the digital learning divide, which most often affects those in our historically underserved neighborhoods."