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Racial equity panel uses first hearing to build to-do list

By Chris Lisinski

The Patriot Ledger

A diverse stream of lawmakers, activists and community leaders produced a lengthy list of racial equity proposals Monday, June 14, kicking off one of the Legislature's most daunting undertakings to date: confronting centuries of structural racism ingrained in nearly every facet of public life.

Created by the Legislature in January, the Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion convened its first hearing as it charts a course for this session. Speakers outlined priorities they hope to see lawmakers address – from enforcing a 2018 criminal justice reform law to making driver's licenses available to undocumented immigrants, from disaggregating data collection to offering reparations for slavery – in steps toward achieving the equality long promised but often not delivered for communities of color.

Legislative leaders created the panel after last year's nationwide racial justice protests and police reform legislation, but the committee's mission will be far broader.

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