SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A new commission is coming soon that will focus on race within the city of Shreveport.
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Mayor Adrian Perkins announced he would be establishing the Shreveport Commission on Racial and Cultural Diversity.
“Just some of the dialogue that we hear in our city council meetings... a lot of it is racially charged by issues where race doesn’t necessarily need to be introduced,” he said. “It really pits our community up against one another, and we can’t afford that.”
Perkins released the application for the commission and says he’s already gotten close to 100 applicants so far.
“I want this committee to be (a) representative of the population,” he said. “I want it to be as diverse as possible. I want every voice to be heard within this committee.”
Perkins says there are no age restrictions, and the only qualification is that those who apply live in Shreveport.
Councilmember Willie Bradford, Dr. Adrian Kushner and Louisiana State University Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Larry Clark make up the advisory committee. They will be tasked with creating the curriculum, drafting the meetings an also selecting the 11 members that will make up this commission.
The city has seen two similar commissions in the past, but Perkins believes this one will be different and really wants change to be made within the city.
“The long term goal is to identify those racial fissures in our community,” he said. “Those institutional things that can be addressed whether you’re talking about improvements to education, economic disparities, cultural disparities... how we can really bring this community together along all those sectors."
Carey Wesley was born and raised in Shreveport. He believes the commission is a good idea and believes there is a division within the city.
“People are scared of what they don’t understand,” he said. “If they don’t understand it, they shy away from it, but once everybody comes around to understanding a person’s mindset, a person’s upbringing and where they are coming from then we’ll be able to come together and unite.”
Lee Harville also lives in Shreveport and likes the idea of the commission.
“I don’t know if there’s a division, but I think that a lot of times we don’t have understanding,” he said. “Especially today when everybody’s on social media, (and) on their phones. Actually talking to each other instead of at each other is a thing we need to do more of.”