Task force for removing racially restrictive language in neighborhoods holds final public meeting

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 15, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The task force for the removal of racially restrictive language in neighborhood covenants in all Tallahassee neighborhoods held its final meeting on Tuesday, updating the public on where the effort stands.

The task force included members of the business community, NAACP and religious leaders.

The issue first arose when a potential home buyer discovered racially restrictive language in old Betton Hills neighborhood covenants; however, the community quickly learned that the issue was not specific to that neighborhood, but rather nationwide.

The committee drafted a resolution disavowing the language; more than 20 major groups, including the City of Tallahassee, the Leon County Commission, multiple neighborhood associations and the Board of Realtors all accepted the proclamation.

"Most of the times, when we address racial issues, it has the potential to bring out the worst or best in us. In this community, it brought out the best," said task force chair Reverend R.B. Holmes.

Although many groups have accepted the resolution, many say that is not enough.

Statewide legislation is currently in the works, and attorney Jami Coleman is spearheading a legal challenge as well, working with the NAACP and FSU.

"My hope is that by the end of the year we will be able to see some progress, whether it be the court action or the legislative action," Coleman said.

Coleman hopes we may have more information about whether legislation will come up in the 2020 session by the end of the year.

Multiple leaders at the press conference said it's a historical day in Tallahassee, as the community leads a statewide effort to remove the racist language.

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