LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 6, 2020) — Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton has announced the appointment of 70 citizens to her newly named Commission for Racial Justice & Equality, which will seek solutions that dismantle systemic racism in Fayette County.
University of Kentucky history Professor Gerald Smith is a co-chair of the commission; UK College of Nursing Associate Professor Lovoria Williams and UK HealthCare Assistant Operations Executive and Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion Tukea Talbert will serve as vice chairs of one of five subcommittees.
Smith and Roszalyn Akins, educator, executive director of BMW Academy and civic leader, were appointed previously to co-chair the commission. They helped Gorton name the commission, decide on the topics it will focus on, and choose the members from the many volunteers who were interested in serving. The diverse group that will serve includes longstanding community leaders, as well as emerging leaders and grassroots advocates.
“Thank you to everyone who has volunteered. I think we’ve got the right people focusing on areas where we need to make progress,” said Gorton, who has given the group a 60-day deadline to make its recommendations. “I understand change won’t happen overnight, but I am determined to make many improvements quickly, and to continue to make immediate changes as opportunities present themselves.”
The group has been divided into five subcommittees, each with an area of concentration. Each sub-committee will set its own goals and objectives, guided by the overall mission to identify systemic and systematic practices of racism in Lexington; assess the historic marginalization of African Americans in this community; and recommend and advocate the systemic changes that will protect and promote racial opportunity, diversity, equity and unity.
The subcommittees are Racial Equity; Education & Economic Opportunity; Health Disparities; Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability; and Housing & Gentrification.
The vice-chairs of the sub-committees include educators, business and civic leaders, health and human service professionals, community advocates and volunteers, faith-based leaders, and criminal justice officials. The vice-chairs are:
Racial Equity: LaToi Mayo, managing shareholder, Littler Mendelson; P.G. Peeples, president and CEO, Urban League of Lexington
Education & Economic Opportunity: Sharon Price, Community Action Council; Anthony Wright, Harshaw Trane
Health Disparities: Tukea Talbert, UK HealthCare; Lovoria Williams, UK College of Nursing
Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability: Jennifer Coffman, retired U.S. District Court judge; David Cozart, director, Lexington Leadership Foundation Fatherhood Initiative
Housing & Gentrification: Shayla Lynch, Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center; Ray Sexton, Lexington-Fayette Human Rights Commission
Each sub-committee also includes a councilmember. They are: Angela Evans, Racial Equity; Mark Swanson, Education & Economic Opportunity; Kathy Plomin, Health Disparities; Jennifer Mossotti, Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability; and James Brown, Housing & Gentrification.
The subcommittees will begin meeting this week. Meetings will be visible to the public live on YouTube. Through Aug. 14, the public can email questions or provide information or opinions at Racialjustice@lexingtonky.gov. For more information, there is a Commission for Racial Justice and Equality website.