LEXINGTON, Ky. — The City of Lexington is in the process of creating a permanent Commission of Racial Justice and Equality. 

What You Need To Know

  • Lexington mayor Linda Gorton permanently establishes Racial Justice and Equality group

  • The group will address racial inequality with five focus areas

  • Council approved the measure Tuesday

  • First reading will take place Thursday

On Tuesday, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County government unanimously passed the measure during a work session. Now it heads to the council meeting for a first reading scheduled for Thursday.

“We have been working on the proper ordinance to get that commission up and running,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton.

In June 2020, Gorton created a 70-member citizen group to help her office organize a commission to address racism in the community following the protests over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police.

Now it’s going to become a 15-member voting commission which stems from the 54 recommendations published in a report last October from the citizen group to the mayor.

“I presented it to the council. I had worked with our law department to do several iterations, you know, editing and going back to the drawing board and just being sure we got it right,” Gorton said.

During a work session this week, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government approved the measure.

“It will operate very much like our other commissions and boards and so the council moved it onto the docket for a first reading,” Gorton said.

Gorton said this commission will have five key areas of focus: Health Disparities, Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability, Housing and Gentrification, Racial Equality and Education and Economic Opportunity.

“I’m very excited about this because this was one of the main recommendations and it will be in place to serve the community,” Gorton said.

Members can serve two four year terms. Gorton said she’ll initially appoint the first chair and vice chair since it will be a new commission. The commission can make their elections in the future.

“I think that it's very reasonable to expect that by this fall we will have members, approved by the council, and have a first meeting and be up and running,” Gorton said.

A first reading of the ordinance will take place during Thursday’s council meeting and most likely a second reading in early July.