Louisville's Black leaders urge unity as anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death approaches

By |2022-03-12T09:37:08-05:00March 12th, 2022|A Path Forward, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Election 2020|

As the second anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death nears, Black leaders from Louisville disussed community, politics, racial healing and mobilization Friday night.The talk was part of a series of events sponsored by Justice 4 Louisville and the Breonna Taylor Foundation this weekend, which will also include a free concert Saturday and a nationwide balloon release in Taylor's memory Sunday.March 13 marks the second anniversary of the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed Black woman who was killed by Louisville Metro Police in her home while they were serving a search warrant.Panelists included two of the city's mayoral candidates:The Rev. Tim Findley, founder of the Justice and Freedom Coalition,And Shameka Parrish-Wright, a prominent social justice activist and co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist;Newly elected state Rep. Keturah Herron, D-42nd District;Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur, D-4th District;Tracy Davis, an attorney running for Jefferson County District Court judge in District 3;Lonita Baker, an attorney that represented Taylor's family in the civil lawsuit and president of the Charles W. Anderson Jr. Bar Association;And Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League.The discussion was moderated by Nicole Hayden, a local social justice activist and business owner.Related: Editorial: Louisville not finished seeking justice for Breonna TaylorHere are key takeaways from the discussion:Black Louisvillians need to unite and engage in politicsArthur, the youngest Metro Council member in Louisville's history, said no single politician has ever saved anyone and encouraged people to get involved in politics. "It took masses of Black people, some enslaved and some free, and their allies to abolish slavery. It took masses of Black people throughout the '50s and '60s and their allies to abolish segregation, to abolish Jim Crow. It took masses of Black people throughout 2020 and our allies to get no-knock warrants banned. It's never just about one single person."He and others at Friday's panel said Black people often are divided. Findley attributes some of that division to trauma in the Black community."Nothing can get done if I don't have the community behind me," Arthur said.Reynolds said Black people have to learn to move differently. Other communities, other faiths and other races stick together, she said."We have got to figure out a way — on the stuff where we can — to find a way to use our power together so we can actually move the needle," She said. "We have been so divided sometimes we can't get things done."Diverse representation is needed to improve livesDavis, who is running for a District Court judgeship, said people in positions of power, especially in the criminal justice system, need to understand what people of different cultures, races and socioeconomic statuses go through.“We all have, believe it or not, have unconscious bias. Every single person," she said.Herron, who won their seat during a special election last month, is the first LGBTQ member of the Kentucky House of Representatives. One of Herron's priorities is to create an office of gun violence to address gun violence, suicide prevention, child abuse and domestic violence.Awash in Guns:‘It’s real easy to get a gun’ in Louisville. And it’s costing livesAnother focus is restoring the voting rights of those with felony convictions and getting young people out to vote.In June 2020, following the deaths of Taylor and David McAtee at the hands of police and National Guard, Black leaders in Louisville published A Path Forward for Louisville, a petition that outlines solutions to systemic problems and racial disparities in Louisville.Reynolds, representing the Urban League, said the group of leaders still meet every Friday to discuss jobs, justice, education, health and housing for Black people.Here's what they've been working on:Increasing the number of Black-owned business owners by helping start-ups with infrastructure, marketing, businesses plans and access to capital. The group is working with Amplify Louisville, a business organization that helps small startups. Paying for intensive tutoring services in math and reading for children whose families can't afford it. Increasing social and emotional support for individuals by working with mental health providers so they can take insurance. Reynolds said anxiety, depression and suicides are increasing. "There's so much pain in our community," she said. The group helped sponsor a community mental health day this month.Building and rehabbing 15 houses for rent.Kala Kachmar is an investigative reporter. Reach her at 502-582-4469; kkachmar@courierjournal.com or @NewsQuip on Twitter. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe.

3 things to know about the Path Forward plan to create a more equitable Louisville

By |2021-07-20T06:47:38-04:00July 20th, 2021|A Path Forward, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

In June 2020, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee at the hands of police and National Guard, respectively, Black leaders in Louisville published A Path Forward for Louisville, a petition that outlines changes and solutions to systemic problems and racial disparities in Louisville.Here are three things to know about the document:What changes did the document call for?A Path Forward called for a variety of changes — from police reform, to support for Black business owners, to revamped educational policies, to more affordable housing in the West End.The document referenced the “long and challenging history LMPD has had with Louisville’s Black community” and sought to divest from policing and invest in other first responders, such as social workers, and also create a more diverse — both in race and gender — police force, among other suggested changes.It also called for JCPS to use newly raised money to “increase equity initiatives” and aimed to create a “pipeline of Black educators.”The document further called for “expanded mental health support.” A Path Forward, a year later:How has Louisville responded to racial justice petition?What financial investment does it seek?The document seeks to create a $50 million Black Community Fund “to begin the process of addressing systemic racism in our community.” Framers had hoped the city would fund the $50 million, but it has not, which Lyndon Pryor, the Louisville Urban League’s Chief Engagement Officer, called “a constant disappointment.”The fund has raised some money from donations, however, which have gone to community learning hubs, a business incubator and affordable housing efforts.Who is does it target as needing to act?The petition was addressed to Metro Council President David James and Mayor Greg Fischer, who said the document has informed his administration’s thinking of city priorities. The document also listed Gov. Andy Beshear, other government leaders, Jefferson County Public Schools, financial institutions and many other organizations as needing to act, as well as “you,” the individual resident.Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League and one of the framers of the document, said the document has been largely well received.“I think there are a lot of organizations that are looking to the document to determine how they move forward,” she said.Hayes Gardner can be reached at hgardner@gannett.com; Twitter: @HayesGardner.

How Louisville organizations have changed after Breonna Taylor’s death

By |2021-07-10T15:25:10-04:00July 10th, 2021|A Path Forward, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Louisville organizations have given money to help Black businesses, opened medical services in underserved areas and raised awareness about racism. Source: How Louisville organizations have changed after Breonna Taylor's death

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