How do we listen?
Team Ora and me, Council Member Ora Houston for District #1, have engaged in and will continue to engage people throughout the district to hear their hopes, dreams and concerns for the city we all love. We want to encourage and uplift people in the district so that they are willing to participate in creative problem solving.
There is an issue that is usually avoided and/or not acknowledged. It is the issue that Austin continues to have striations and place markers base on income and ethnic background. For Austin to be worthy of the title 'prosperous' it is important that we acknowledge that prejudice opinions and racism systems still exist in our city. Austin has been, for a long time, viewed as a progressive, weird, diverse and creative city, but rarely are the disparities relating to health, education, housing, incarceration data about ethnic groups, cultures, ages, LGBT communities, or socio-economic levels mentioned in public.
We are committed to using the following core values.
We are passionate about District #1, the people who live in and the places that contribute to the district's uniqueness and diversity. We seek to participate in true dialogue through open, honest and civil conversations rather than debate. It is important to listen to others, respect all sides of an issue, to use civil tones and achieve positive outcomes for our city.
We are committed to community participation in decisions which will impact the quality of the lives of people in the district. We will invite, welcome and engage a wide variety of people who choose to call District #1 their home in conversations about the vision of the city. We promise to include all ages; all economic and education levels; families with children and singles; homeowners and renters; people from different cultures, languages, beliefs and backgrounds; and recent Austin arrivals and people who have lived here for generations.
We will be mindful and respectful of the viewpoints and truths of others as well as the experiences which formed them. It is important to be aware of the history of our city, discrete neighborhoods and the events which shaped communities of interest in order that the same mistakes are not repeated.
We are excited that District #1 is the most diverse of the newly established ten districts and
serves as an example of a very large blended family unit. We must listen to all voices to get different perspectives, new information, creative solutions and ways to expand the conversations between the City Council members and the shareholders.
We will acknowledge that each of us carries seeds of bias and prejudice in our DNA. We have preconceived ideas and perceptions about the "other" or members of cultural groups who are different from us. It is important that we all do our part to be aware of how ingrained our automatic responses can be so we avoid division and begin to heal as a community.
We will focus on ensuring that people live, work and play in safe environments and neighborhoods where they are respected, heard, accepted and safe from harm or crime. It is important to show mutual respect between members of the community and the employees of the city.
We must begin to have difficult conversations in the city to dismantle silos and allow access to everyone. Create environments where people have an opportunity to contribute to the solutions, including people with limited resources, education levels, cultures, ethnicities, religious beliefs or not, lifestyles, all age groups and differing abilities.
Ora Houston has a vision for District #1 and the city of Austin. It is one of civility, equity, unity, cooperation and inclusiveness.
So, as I like to say, “let’s make history together!”