Austin hires first-ever Civil Rights Officer as a part of visionary plan

Local leaders continue to place great emphasis on social justice as a key priority for the city’s future. On January 30, the city of Austin announced the appointment of its first civil rights officer.

Carol Johnson, who has spent her career fighting for civil rights and fair housing, is the newly minted CRO. With more than 20 years of experience including serving as the Oregon State’s Civil Rights Director and Executive Director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, Johnson will play a key role in creating a fairer Austin.

Johnson officially begins her term on February 16, and the chief among her duties will be:

  • Develop and oversee a clear vision for the Civil Rights Office

  • Promote Austin’s non-discrimination efforts

  • Promote public relations, education and awareness events for businesses and stakeholders in the community

“I am delighted to have Carol Johnson on our team as the city’s first civil rights officer. Her extensive civil rights experience will be instrumental in driving the department’s programs to set goals, guidelines and best practices addressing racial justice, social justice and inclusion for Austin residents, ”said Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, assistant city administrator in a publication.

The new role was created as part of Strategic Direction 2023, a visionary six-point agenda for the next three to five years. These six points – equity, affordability, innovation, sustainability and resilience, proactive prevention, and trust and community relationships – will guide Johnson in her new role.

“I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will arise as the city’s civil rights bureau is led to deliver racial and social justice and inclusion to Austin residents,” said Johnson.

Austin’s CRO is just the latest in a series of measures taken by the local government to make a fairer city. In December, Austin City Council announced a groundbreaking project for City Administrator Spencer Cronk to sign a articles of association. This treaty, the first draft of which is due this summer, aims to create a universal standard by which the core values ​​of the community will help influence government decisions.

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