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Stuck in neutral; Faith leaders frustrated by lack of forward progress

Posted at 2:16 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 18:38:54-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The hope they walked with on June 4 was blatant. Five weeks later, that seems to have dissipated a bit. Faith leaders from Lexington gathered on the steps of the First African Baptist Church in Lexington to update the progress in their fight for racial equality.

"There are things that can be done strategically that can bring about change right now," said Rev. Dr. David Peoples of Jabez Missionary Baptist Church. But those things aren't being done, at least not yet.

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The city has placed a moratorium on no-knocks warrants, so that step is in the right direction concerning that issue. But these leaders want to see them eliminated, or at least have a chance to sit down and discuss why there's a need to keep them in place.

"If you communicate, you can solve anything," said Dr. CB Akins from First Baptist Bracktown Church. "If there are some instances in which he (Police Chief Lawrence Weathers) needs no-knocks warrants, communicate that. Sell us on that," Akins continued.

Dr. Akins also feels there's a ceiling at the University of Kentucky related to the promotion of qualified Black faculty members.

"What we’ve seen at the University of Kentucky for years is that our African American faculty there have to leave to move up,” Akins said. He referred specifically to one employee to who left to become a Provost elsewhere.

“That position has been open three times in the last six years," Akins said.

Akins implored the University's Board of Directors to take the lead on this situation because, as he said, a Board doesn't make suggestions; instead, its members can give orders.

Other issues remain in the business sector. Rev. Nathl L. Moore of First African Baptist Church, which hosted Thursday's briefing, cites a recent inquiry when saying the city isn't accurately reporting its numbers when it comes to the number of contracts awarded to African American-owned businesses. Moore said the 20 percent that's shown is closer to one percent.

"That is both shameful and unconscionable," Moore said.

But the biggest of all atrocities, as far as these men and women see it, would be to once again fall victim to something that's plagued this country for three centuries as it pertains to racial equality.

"What we don't want is to get in a kicking-the-can-down-the-road process," Peoples said.