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Lexington community reflects on anniversary of George Floyd

Posted at 7:40 PM, May 25, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — On the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd and the movement that started because of him, community members and leaders in Lexington focus on progress made and action steps for the future.

LPD Accountability organized a George Floyd Memorial: Day of Action on Tuesday to mark the anniversary.

They started with a rally focused on filing a formal complaint to demand justice for Liam Long, the 19-year-old teen with autism who was hit by a police cruiser in March. Then at 3 p.m. they tuned into the urban county council's work session and plan to meet again at the courthouse for a memorial for George Floyd. They've continued to protest, rally and push for change since.

Jessica Bowman was there in the beginning and joined them again on Thursday.

"I wasn't sure what to expect and I honestly didn't realize that there were so many things in Lexington. It wasn't just things that happened in other places like Minneapolis, there are actually things in Lexington," said Bowman.

She started as a concerned community member and found herself thrown into advocating for change in her city.

"I believed that there were biases and discrimination and injustices, but I didn't necessarily realize how many were happening right in my town. And so once you realize, you never stop coming," said Bowman.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton says it's people like Jessica who pushed the movement forward locally.

"It was eye opening for lots and lots of people. You know, that happened 788 miles from here, but people here reacted just like they did all over the country. And people demanded justice. And so for me, it was a real heads up that our community needed help. So, one of the things that I did almost immediately, in June was start to put together my commission on racial justice and equality," said Gorton.

The commission of 70 community members worked through the summer and fall and came back with 54 recommendations in October. Gorton says 20 have already been implemented and they're not done yet.

"We keep moving forward with that. We're moving forward with our permanent racial justice commission. These are things that never leave my mind. They're always things that we're working on to do the next step to implement," said Gorton.

Activist April Taylor with LPD Accountability says that's what this one-year anniversary is all about, looking at the progress of the past year and pushing for even more.

"I think it's really more of a pause to say, look, it's been an entire year, we still don't have really meaningful change," said Taylor.

That's why they organized the day of action, to keep supporters in the loop of what still needs to be done.

"I feel like it has to keep going until there are not statistics that point to such a stark contrast between the experiences of black people and people of color when it comes to policing in this city, and white people. We have work to do," said Taylor.