UTA professor leads city of Arlington’s Unity Council
Jason Shelton, associate professor of anthropology and sociology and the director of the Center for African American Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington, is leading the city of Arlington’s new Unity Council as its chairman.
Created this summer by city officials, the council’s goal is to increase equality in Arlington through community input and by examining equity strategies.
“I am honored to have been called to lead this council,” Shelton said. “Arlington is a large and diverse city. We want to talk to the people in the community, with all kinds of backgrounds and experiences. We want to hear their stories and compare what we learn from them to numbers and data to determine the best policies on how we can make Arlington better.”
Shelton said the council needs to examine economic disparities, education, health, housing and policing. In the coming months, the 29-member council will gather community input, interview citizens, analyze survey data, research best practices and recommend strategies that the city of Arlington could implement to promote and encourage greater equality across the community.
“So many throughout our community have worked tirelessly over several decades to help make Arlington the rich, vibrant community it is today. We celebrate our cultural diversity in The American Dream City and we are proud to be an international city whose citizens represent more than 100 countries,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “As residents of a city that is committed to equality, justice and inclusion for all people, we continue our work to eliminate systemic racism and discrimination in all forms and to ensure that all who live, work and learn here have equal opportunities to pursue the American Dream.”
After outlining the council’s goals and plans for research methods, Shelton ended the first meeting by assigning “homework” to the council members: identify members of the Arlington community who would be compelling interviews candidates for the council’s research.
The next Unity Council meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 25, with meetings scheduled monthly.