The Lawrence Alliance, a group to advise the Lawrence City Commission on issues of racism and discrimination, was formally established by the commission at its meeting Tuesday.
Formation of the group was one of the recommendations made to the commissioners in May by the Community Task Force on Racism, Discrimination and Human Diversity.
Ann Weick, who chaired the task force, told commissioners Tuesday that the alliance "is a way of bringing the entire city together to fight racism and to complete our mission, which is to create a discrimination-free Lawrence."
ACCORDING to the resolution establishing the group, Mayor Bob Walters will appoint 12 to 15 members to the alliance, with the consent of the commission.
Walters said Weick and a transitional task force would nominate members for the group and that some who served on the task force also would be involved in the alliance. He said he expected nominations from the transitional group in four to six weeks.
"I am pleased that we will be adding the continuity of the task force to the alliance," he said.
The 16-member task force, created in July 1990, was sponsored by the city, Kansas University and Haskell Indian Junior College. The commission accepted its recommendations in June.
THE RESOLUTION adopting the alliance, drawn up by Assistant City Manager Rod Bremby, states that it will advise the commission and also will:
Actively address racism and discrimination in Lawrence.
Develop linkages among individuals, groups and institutions to foster awareness, understanding and appreciation for all aspects of human diversity.
Assist individuals who experience discrimination.
Build on the rich history of Lawrence by celebrating its diversity.
Weick said part of the initial plan for the alliance was that it would develop action coalitions open to all community members. Each coalition then would develop a plan to help further the alliance's goals.
Some projects might include forming new social connections between groups that normally do not have much contact, helping schoolchildren broaden their cultural experiences and starting an initiative in the business community to increase awareness of diversity.
Walters said that once the alliance membership is solidified, it would be up to members to decide when to begin its work.
Commissioner Bob Schulte was out of town Tuesday, and the vote to adopt the alliance was 4-0. But Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith said the votes to rid Lawrence of discrimination were "five in spirit."