Lexington takes new steps to combat racial inequality

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton announced new steps taken to combat racial inequality on Tuesday.

She outlined what the Commission for Racial Injustice and Equality has done so far. The commission brought 54 recommendations to the table in October.

A month after presenting a 68-page report to the mayor, the city’s commission members told our Shelby Lofton what they’ve accomplished and a timeline for long term goals:

  • City Council has allocated more than $2 million dollars toward eviction prevention, and the mayor said that money can go straight to landlords.
  • Around 18,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 through the mayor’s Mobile Neighborhood program, which targets areas disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • Cheapside has been officially renamed Henry Tandy Centennial Park, in honor of a black contractor who worked on the old courthouse.
  • To date, 25 at-risk individuals have been referred to Safety Net, a program that gives resources to those impacted by violence.
  • $500,000 has been allocated toward a disparity study focused on pursuing more minority business contracts
  • more than $261,000 will go toward purchasing body cameras for Lexington Police officers that don’t have one
  • a new pilot program with community mental health provider New Vista is intended to provided more help to individuals calling police

Mayor Gorton said while COVID-19 makes the work more difficult, it will make a better future for Lexington and she plans on asking the council to make the commission permanent. She says it wouldn’t necessarily consist of the same members, but it would continue to focus on making Lexington a more inclusive place for all.

“It is super important that we take it seriously, that we continue to go forward with the recommendations because it’s about our people that’s what it’s all about, is our people,” Mayor Gorton said.

Mayor Gorton said the process will take time but promised the report wouldn’t be disregarded, and said the next steps include applying for federal and state funding.

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