Creators of the “Welcome to Waco” tourism video were hoping it would boost tourism and show just how much people love Waco, but it didn’t.
“Because, of course, we looked at the comments, too. And we saw that the community felt like it didn’t really reflect the diversity,” said Carla Pendergraft, of the Waco Visitors Bureau.
“A lot of people felt like, ‘Why wasn’t more done to include people who are already marginalized?,” said Hope Mustakim, on September 3, 2018.
She’s not alone. Hundreds are expressing their disappointment with the final cut on social media.
“Because it is supposed to be about Waco, and it [was] supposed to be ‘Welcome to Waco’ by all Wacoans. It didn’t reflect that diversity,” Pendergraft says.
City officials took the video down from their website shortly after and met with groups like the NAACP to figure out how they could make it right.
“I reached out to people I know at the Waco NAACP, Community Race Relations Coalition and the Centex African American Chamber,” Pendergraft says.
“She made it clear that in the future, that we would go out and we would reach out to the churches and to the places where black people and Hispanic people gather. So that they can make sure it’s not a lack of knowledge that didn’t get the crowd there,” said Lovie Langston, Executive Board Member of NAACP Waco.
Now with the same song, the city has come up with a more inclusive vision – using interviews from everyday Wacoans, which will be coming soon.
“It really means a lot that they would take a step back and say, ‘This is a learning experience.’ And to actually learn from it and do something different,” Mustakim says.
“I think that the city has reached out in a way that most cities do not,” Langston says.