Is Racism Alive and Well in Lufkin?

Is there racism, prejudice, and inequality in Lufkin? Members of the Undoing Racism Task Force say yes.

"There are some departments that are totally Caucasian - no African Americans, no Hispanics, no Asians - and so you ask yourself, 'is that due to racism or is it due to something else'. We are looking at that particular thing right now."

Co-chair Bobbie Whitehead knows her organization is making a difference in the city. She said the changes the city has made when hiring and promoting personnel prove it.

"We made recommendations that the city change some of those [hiring policies] and they did. Let's say that you have a department that is almost devoid of minority representation and then you have a vacancy, and if you limit the initial application process to those people that are already in-house, you never have an opportunity to bring in minorities."

Whitehead believes the city's past problems may have been caused by racial barriers not blatant racism. Since the task force formed, many city leaders and Lufkin residents have embraced the group and supported its goal.

The annual Heritage Festival in Lufkin is one way the task force gets all races together to meet and greet and celebrate their differences.

"The Undoing Racism Task Force has an open membership policy. All you have to do is show up to a meeting. They're held the third Monday of each month at Lufkin City Hall.

Those monthly meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. in Room 202 at City Hall. This month's meeting will be held on the 22nd in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.