Lexington Fayette Urban County council temporarily suspends public comment following racial slurs
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Racial and discriminatory slurs yelled throughout a Lexington Fayette Urban County Council public meeting over Zoom Wednesday night were still at the forefront of people’s minds Thursday, many saying it was a wake-up call for council members and the community.
“I’m a big fan of the idea that light is the best disinfectant,” Rabbi Shlomo Litvin with Chabad of the Bluegrass said.
It was a harsh light to be sure, one that left some council members speechless.
“Our council, our community had to endure the most vulgar use of free speech that I’ve ever been a part of,” Council Member Bill Farmer said.
But, it was a light that has already sparked change, in that the full city council passed unanimously a motion to suspend public comment until they can find a way to prevent a repeat occurrence, and in more than that, a realization in many people’s minds that those in minority populations, whether race, sexual orientation, or religion, may hear similar comments every day.
“It’s unusual where a week goes by that I don’t get a hateful comment,” Litvin said. “So, for other people to see that this is normal, it also shows what the problem we’re dealing with is, juvenile, uneducated points of view be it from children or adults.”
Whether it be Litvin’s solution of education, protesters’ solution of policy changes, or any other suggestion, at the very least, the hateful words ignited a fire under the council to find an answer sooner rather than later.
“The long game is to eliminate racism in all its forms and that takes more than legislation,” Vice Mayor Steve Kay said. “But the short term is legislation, which is what this body is capable of doing.”
Many of the council members were calling for recommendations of change to be brought before the council as soon as possible.
Mayor Linda Gorton said she will be meeting with leaders of a task force that is assigned to address racial injustice in several aspects of life on Friday.
And, for anyone wanting to make a comment to the council in the meantime, Mayor Gorton suggests finding each council member’s email on lexingtonky.gov
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