Where Everyone and Every Community Thrives

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Monday, June 1, 2020

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A healthy Louisville where everyone and every community thrives.

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400 E Gray Street

Louisville, KY 40202


Breonna Taylor

Our Community Must Transform

Dear Community, 

Over the weekend, residents across our city have watched and participated in days of protest to demand accountability for the killing of Breonna Taylor. We collectively grieve her life as well as David McAtee, both lost to police violence.  

What we have witnessed this weekend is a demand for change, and a demand for what Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness advocates for – the right for our residents to live long, healthy lives. 

Protest has always been an important tool to the advancement of equity in our community. It is a signal that our systems need to change. Historically, many United States protests have resulted in advancements of the rights for people of color both locally and nationally. In fact, protesting is so fundamental to our democracy, that it is protected as our First amendment right in the Constitution. 

We understand there are many residents who are scared and upset about property damage, especially to businesses they may own or frequent themselves. What we have seen over the past few days is a community that has come together to repair that damage. Imagine if we all collectively came together to address the damage that our residents are protesting – the damage that racism has caused our society, and the trauma of losing the lives of our neighbors to those who are supposed to serve and protect.  

These protests are our residents’ way of saying that we as a city have not done enough to change or to value their lives. That we must do better, and we must improve quickly. We must value every resident and provide them with the most basic of rights – food, safety, and shelter. This is the violence we must be most concerned with.  

We invite everyone to focus our fear, anger, and grief to demand change at the root of the problem – a system that deprives Black communities from the resources they need to thrive and an over-investment in a policing system that punishes the consequences of resource scarcity. This depresses the quality of life for everyone by creating systems that are unable to facilitate healthy, thriving community connectedness in the way so many of us desire. 

Racism continues to complicate our ability to respond to another pressing public health crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no coincidence that Black people are uniquely impacted by both police violence and this pandemic. Our community deserves to have their voice be heard, and to demand change from us. Residents have had to make difficult choices – do they stay at home and not challenge the injustices they experience? Or do they make their voice heard and risk exposing themselves and their community to COVID-19? 

Our community must transform, and we know this begins with dialogue but cannot stop there. The Center for Health Equity has worked to center community voice in our collective action to transform policy and resource allocation over the last 14 years. We hear you, we understand you, and we continue to be ready to work with you in the months and years to come to transform our city. While the decisions needed may feel straightforward for some of us, our community must unlearn how racism has shaped our worldview of what is possible. In doing so, we are better prepared to make the needed short- and long-term decisions to create the community many of us envision. 

Moving forward, we commit to growing our advocacy for transformative decisions. Most importantly, this means we must prioritize investing less in a system that punishes residents for the consequences of resource deprivation and investing more in the development of resource abundance through community ownership and universal access to basic needs, including quality housing, food abundance, and mental health resources. To accomplish transformation, we know we will need collective support and advocacy from residents and decision makers to change the policies, practices, and funding decisions both at the local and state level.  

We value each of you, and we are committed to creating the conditions for our neighbors to live long, healthy lives.  

In community, 
The Center for Health Equity