Lexington mayor appoints Commission for Racial Justice & Equality

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 8:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After announcing a new group earlier this month to recommend changes concerning racial equality, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton announced Wednesday the appointment of 70 citizens to the group, newly named Commission for Racial Justice & Equality.

Commission for Racial Justice & Equality will seek solutions that dismantle systemic racism in Fayette County.

Mayor Gorton recently appointed to co-chairs, Roszalyn Akins and Dr. Gerald Smith, who helped her name the commission, decide on the topics it will focus on, and choose the members from the many volunteers who were interested in serving.

“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 is divided into five subcommittees. Each will have their own objectives with 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, according to the mayor.

Those subcommittees are Racial Equity; Education & Economic Opportunity; Health Disparities; Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability; and Housing & Gentrification.

The mayor says the subcommittees have vice-chairs, who are made up of educators, business and civic leaders, health and human service professionals, community advocates and volunteers, faith-based leaders, and criminal justice officials.

Here’s a list of the vice-chairs:

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: Dr. Tukea Talbert, UK Health Care; Dr. 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: Mark Swanson, Racial Equity; Angela Evans, Education & Economic Opportunity; Kathy Plomin, Health Disparities; Jennifer Mossotti, Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability; and James Brown, Housing & Gentrification.

The subcommittees will begin meeting next week, which can be viewed live on YouTube. Through Aug. 14, the public can email questions or provide information or opinions at Racialjustice@lexingtonky.gov.

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