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'Tough Conversations.' Racial Justice Commission Delivers 54 Recommendations For Lexington

Arlo Barnette

Following months of work through the summer, Mayor Linda Gorton's Commission for Racial Justice and Equality has delivered dozens of recommendations to her office.

"We had to have some tough conversations. There are some tough things in the report, but all of these tough things will help make Lexington a better place," said commission leader Roszalyn Akins.

Formed in the wake of sustained protests in downtown Lexington, the commission has now handed over a condensed 67-page report with 54 recommendations in areas ranging from law enforcement reform to ideas about housing and gentrification.

Among the proposals are the creation of a point-person position in the mayor's office to help oversee implementation of the changes, a more specific minority business measure that includes a separate number for Black-owned businesses, and more of a civilian presence in police discipline matters.

Dr. Gerald Smith, who also helped head up the commission, said one recommendation would "three citizens, non-law enforcement citizens be a part of that seven-member review board."

Mayor Linda Gorton also expressed an interest in carrying on the group's work in the form of a permanent commission, "to put this into permanency and elevate this just like we have commissions for other things."

The recommendations now move to the Urban County Council for review and consideration.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.