Ask Arlington: Your Questions Answered on the City's Unity Council
By Office of Communication
Posted on October 15, 2020, October 15, 2020

The Arlington City Council recently appointed 28 people to a citizen-led Unity Council. The group's mission is to make the City a more equitable place for everyone. 

UTA Professor Dr. Jason Shelton serves as chair of the Unity Council and joined a special episode of Ask Arlington to explain the group's work and update residents.

Could you please expand on the Unity Council's mission and the progress you've made so far?

Shelton says the Unity Council started with numbers. "We have analyzed data from important sources, like the United States Census, data on health," Shelton added. The group also analyzed the annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Now, the work moves to the interview phase. "You can have all the statistics in the world, and you need all the statistics to justify points. But statistics can only take you so far. We are everyday people. We have emotions and experiences."

How can residents share ideas?

Shelton says he asked each Unity Council member to submit a list of five names, featuring residents who can offer valuable insight and analysis. "These are people who could be everyday people who've just lived here forever. Or maybe they just got here. Or they could be highly influential people," Shelton explained. Each person listed will have the chance to share their experiences, insights and advice. 

When will the findings be ready, and how will they be implemented? 

The Unity Council's final report is due to the Mayor and City Council in February 2021. Shelton says he's hopeful City leaders will see changes that could be made immediately while also looking at long-term solutions. "They're all very excited and are looking forward to what we produce," Shelton said. "We as a Unity Council have to make sure we produce recommendations that are short-term, mid-term and long-term and that are rooted in the data. They show how to implement what the changes can be and what they can bring about in our City."

Unity Council graphic

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