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Lexington Commission makes recommendations to address systematic racism in city

Posted at 8:06 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 20:14:11-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After months of work, the Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality has submitted a list of 54 recommendations to city officials on how to address systematic racism in Lexington.

"This report pulls off our city's rose-colored glasses and takes a hard look at the racism that holds us back,” said Mayor Linda Gorton during a press conference.

The long-awaited report combines the efforts of five subcommittees focused on bridging gaps across wide-ranging topics including healthcare, education, law enforcement and the economy.

“We know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Gorton said. “I am convinced that this is our time to make progress, to make a permanent change for our community to move forward.”

Commission co-chairs Dr. Gerald Smith and Roszalyn Akins joined Mayor Gorton during a press conference where they expressed their confidence in making ‘permanent change.’

“These are very much feasible actions. This is not a wish list,” said Akins.

Gorton addressed the importance of reaching everyone in the community in order to enact long-standing change.

“We talked about this in the very beginning, how do we engage all of Lexington, not just a certain part of Lexington?” Gorton said. “We've got work to do. We're going to have to listen and talk and meet and help people understand, even though they may not see a problem in their daily life. There are issues here.”

The subcommittee on Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability (LEJA) submitted the most recommendations.

Recommendations include further involving community members in the officer disciplinary process, increasing transparency in the Lexington Police Department, requiring all officers to wear body cameras, and enhancing the department’s racial bias training, among other recommendations.

City officials will review the commission’s recommendations to begin determining how to best implement them into the community through funding, legislative action, administrative changes, and more.

You can read the commission’s full report here.