Mayor Gorton names permanent Racial Justice commission
Mayor Linda Gorton on Thursday officially appointed the members of a permanent Racial Justice and Equality Commission and named its first chair and vice chair, Sam Meaux and Charlotte Turley.
“Today is a new day,” Gorton said. “A day to look to the future. A day to talk about our City and its wonderful mix of cultures and languages. And most importantly, a day to pledge to work together to ensure everyone is welcome, and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
The city does not set up new, permanent commissions very often. “The message the establishment of this commission sends is simple: We know we still have work to do to achieve racial justice and equality, and we are in it for the long haul,” Gorton said.
Meaux is the retired principal of Tates Creek High School. In his application, he wrote that he is interested in serving on the commission because he is very concerned with the current equity issues in Lexington.
“As I’ve watched and listened I feel that I have a perspective that would help affect positive change.” Meaux wrote. “As a former school level administrator, I’m even more concerned with the mounting issues schools face as they must also deal with the issues of the community.”
Charlotte Turley is a former city enforcement officer with the Division of Waste Management. She also worked as a para-educator with Fayette County Public Schools, as a juvenile detention officer, was a staff member with the Department of Youth Services, was a deputy jailer, and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves military police.
Turley wrote in her application that she is interested in serving because she is “passionate about racial justice and equality for all people.”
Pending final approval from the Urban County Council, in addition to Meaux and Turley, members of the Racial Justice and Equality Commission will include Christian Adair, Emily Duncan, Timothy Johnson, Jessica Sass, Yajaira West, Serenity Wright, Juan Castro, Marshall Fields, Bob McLaughlin, Abdul Muhammad, Miranda Scully, Kennedy Wells and Whit Whitaker.
Tiffany Brown, the city’s Equity and Implementation Officer, will be working with the new commission. One of its first jobs will be to continue to implement changes recommended by the original commission.
Recent progress on the recommendations includes:
- Appointing permanent Racial Justice and Equality Commission.
- Two civilians added to the Police Disciplinary Review Board and will begin accepting nominations for volunteers.
- Addressing health equity by finding innovative solutions to improve healthy food access.
- Expanded programming at the Charles Young Center to include trauma-informed group therapy for youth whose lives have been touched by violence.
- Working with community organizations, courts, and other resource service agencies to remove barriers to integration in the workforce, education, housing and health equity by offering an expungement clinic.
- Body cameras and enhanced software for all police officers.
- Ongoing minority business disparity study to be complete by May 2022.