WKYT Investigates: One Lexington’s impact and funding
Lexington’s mayor is asking for more funding for the city’s neighborhood outreach program, One Lexington.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - One Lexington focuses on youth violence prevention. Its organizers will tell you, there’s been a 50% decrease in young adult gun-related homicides from 2021 to now. Numbers show the last four of eight homicides so far this year have involved young adult victims. More than half of this year’s homicide victims are in the age group One Lexington targets.
“There’s gonna be ups and downs, ebbs and flows, it’s heavy work, it’s not easy, but we’re committed to it,” says Devine Carama, leader of One Lexington. The community activist and artist has spent most of his adult career mentoring children - in the schools, in the recording studio, and on the streets, raising funds through an annual coat drive.
One Lexington’s three-man crew works not only with a handful of organizations like UK trauma, and Fayette County Public Schools, but also with individuals.
“When there’s a two o’clock shooting, when other people are in bed and they’ll hear about it in the morning, we’re being contacted right away. Many times we’re out on scenes. We walk into dangerous, what some people consider dangerous environments,” says Larry Johnson. “The work of One Lexington is work that I’ve been involved in with the city since probably the mid-90s.”
Since 2018, there’s been a steady increase in homicides in Lexington. The city hit an all-time high last year - 44. The team at One Lexington insists, the number of young people involved in homicides in Lexington is decreasing.
“Prior to this job I was a state social worker for about ten years. So I understand and realize that this is not an overnight thing, and a lot of times as you look at data you won’t really see the true effect maybe five to ten years later,” notes Kenneth Payne. He’s using his time working for One Lexington, giving door-to-door support. “I’m in a lot of communities with people that look like me that haven’t had the resources that maybe other communities have.”
The mayor is requesting an increase of about 4.5% of One Lexington’s overall funding. Federal funding, through the American Rescue Plan Act, already helps pay for One Lexington’s mentoring program.
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