Louisville leaders discuss lessons from past and present calls for social justice

Louisville leaders discuss lessons from past and present calls for social justice
A Black History Month discussion was a part of Mayor Greg Fischer Lean Into Louisville initiative. (Source: Filson Historical Society)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In a panel discussion Tuesday, community leaders discussed the “state” of Black Louisville with comparisons of past and present social justice movements and protests.

The Black History Month discussion was a part of Mayor Greg Fischer Lean Into Louisville initiative.

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Black History Month Panel 2-23-2021

Lean Into Louisville's Fire Next Time panel discussion starts now. Please join us for this important #BlackHistoryMonth conversation.

Posted by Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

“It’s important as we plan the future of our city that we understand the connection between the civil unrest of 1968 and the civil unrest of 2020. Why? So we can break this pattern with hope for everybody and justice and equity for everybody,” Fischer said. “So we can learn the lessons, however painful, especially to white communities coming to grips with this, that we need to learn to move forward together.”

The Louisville Riots of 1968 came in the wake Dr. Marin Luther King’s assassination. Protesters also took issue with the expected reinstatement of a white city police officer who was previously suspended for beating a Black man.

The panel Tuesday drew parallels from 1960s protests to those that followed the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in 2020.

“So here we are now, the same thing, police brutality,” former Courier Journal columnist Bette Baye said. “If we don’t fix that, it’s going to keep happening, and we going to keep having more Breonna Taylors, more George Floyds.”

Dr. Ricky Jones with the University of Louisville said the city must recognize racism in its past to combat the present.

“There is no way we can come together in this country ever, at least not in a health way, if we don’t come together around some kind of truth,” he said.

Panelists called for open conversations between Black and white Louisville on race and equity.

“We have to work diligently to arm our young people to not just educate them on race, history and all of these things so they can build a new and better world,” Jones said.

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