December 2020 Newsletter

King Louis statue

December 2020 Newsletter

The above image was taken in January 2020.  Who could have imagined, at that time, what the new year would bring? The King Louis statue, whose outstretched hand was removed during the first night of the Breonna Taylor protests, became a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement. The statue, like many across the country, became a focal point as people across the world deliberated the objects immortalized in their public spaces. The statue's absence, which was removed in September, serves as a symbolic reminder that the challenges overcome this year are just the beginning.  Our community now looks to rebuild an economy, trust, and a return to normalcy seemingly from scratch.  As symbolic and actual barriers are removed, we must remember to build back better so that 2021 is the start of a more equitable, inclusive, and hopeful Louisville.

Restorative Justice

OSHN Spotlight: Restorative Justice

The Office for Safe and Heathy Neighborhoods leads and funds multiple innovative programs. Our monthly OSHN spotlight aims to inform about difference-making initiatives across our city.

Restorative Justice was founded in 2011 and is managed by the Volunteers of America Mid-States.  It was established as a way to intervene in the traditional criminal justice system for youth.  While the criminal justice system we know focuses on punishing the offender, restorative justice shifts the focus to the harm that has been done to the victim and works to repair that harm.  The Restorative Justice process allows victims of crime to participate in the resolution of the offense that has been done, a process from which they have been historically absent.  Additionally, the unique Family Group Conference Model supports positive behavioral change by the offender.  While each case is unique due to the voluntary, victim-centered approach, all cases aim to bring the victim, the offender, family members and support persons together with trained facilitators to discuss what needs to be done to repair the harm. This facilitated process is centered on making things right for all parties involved while enabling creative solutions not used within the traditional justice system.

So far, Restorative Justice has been implemented across our county with success.  Young people who participate in the process are about half as likely to commit a future offense.  Additionally, victims of crimes feel more fully engaged in a process of true restoration which leads to closure and healing for the victim and community.  The effective outcomes that Restorative Justice has achieved do not just benefit the victim and reduce future crime.  The process also addresses overcrowding facing our youth detention centers across the state and saves significant taxpayer dollars.  Every year-long detention for a youth in Kentucky currently costs more than $70,000 (which is substantially more than housing adults). Restorative Justice is vastly more affordable – and more effective.

Check out two recent example's of Restorative Justice at work on the VOA's website.

Upcoming Events

Interfaith Remembrance Event


Interfaith Service for Victims of Gun Violence

The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods will partner with Mom's Demand Action, the National Action Network, and the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry for a night of remembrance on December 29.  The interfaith service will be hosted by multiple faith leaders in our community to honor victims of gun violence this year including lives lost to homicide, suicide, and accidental shootings. The event will be streamed live on The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhood's Facebook Page on Tuesday, December 29 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM.  For questions or more information, contact

Tune in Dec 29 at 6:00 PM -

Suicide Prevention & Coping During Covid


Suicide Prevention & Coping During COVID

The Mayor's Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN) would like to invite you to be a part of the One Love Louisville Networking Night featuring our special guest from the Kent School of Social Work, Sara Williams MSSW, CSW.

January 26 is an opportunity for citizens to learn more about violence prevention efforts as well as find out about important resources and initiatives in our community.  Our Networking Night creates an environment for change agents to build a network of citizens as well as agencies involved in efforts to help prevent violence. It provides a space for continued development of violence prevention knowledge and resources. During this Networking Night, you will learn individual and collective efforts to prevent suicide and coping strategies during the age of COVID-19.

Register for Suicide Prevention & Coping During COVID

Applications Open for

Neighborhood Institute

The Lucile Leggett Neighborhood Institute is a 12-week course held by the Center for Neighborhoods at no cost.  The cohort, which has been offered since 1987, is a leadership, education program designed to equip neighborhood leaders with skills and resources needed to initiate positive change in the community.  This year's class will meet virtually every Thursday from 6:00 - 8:00pm beginning January 28, 2021.

If interested, apply or learn more here! 

Neighborhood Institute

Online Learning

With limited trainings and in-person gatherings, here are some interesting learning opportunities to continue to grow and develop our collective understanding of violence.

NPR Book Collection

NPR's Best Books of 2020

NPR's Book Concierge is a refreshing reminder that not all learning is online! This year's picks are sorted by more than thirty categories. Scroll through the "States We're In" category for books on race, culture, the pandemic, and the election.  Or, focus on lighter reading such as fiction, comics, sports, music and more.  Finally, filter through over 2,500 titles by scrolling through past years picks from the NPR editing team.

Pulitzer Center Looks at a Year in Stories from Across the World

Pulitzer Center grantees published over 1,000 stories this year from across the world.  While you have probably read more reporting than you can handle on current crisis domestically, the Pulitzer Center highlights underreported global issues.  The 33 stories chosen here highlight 2020 through award-winning reporting in the U.S. and abroad.  From land mines in the Amazon Rainforest to jade mining in Myanmar, you will be sure to learn about important global issues and gain insight from in-depth reporting.

View more "Best of 2020" with Time's 100 Best Inventions of the Year or The Atlantic's 25 Best Photos of the Year.

 A still from the New Yorker film “SIONA: Amazon’s Defender’s Under Threat.” Image by Tom Laffay. Colombia, 2019.

The Gun Embodiment Effect

New research from Colorado State University shows that the act of carrying a gun can lead to perceptions that others are carrying a gun as well.  This bias, referred to as the Gun Embodiment Effect, seemed to exist despite the shooter's experience, attitudes towards guns, or personality traits such as impulsivity. The study involved 212 students from Colorado State University who were connected to a motion tracking system and asked to either hold a fake gun, a spatula, or a shoe.  While the 8-millisecond lapse to register the object only represents minute differences in reaction time, researchers believe the findings help explain accidental shootings of unarmed victims across the U.S. Additionally, the research team found that participants who held a gun had a 1% greater likelihood to misperceive the item being held by the victim, a fact they warn could have drastic effects when scaled to hundreds of thousands of interactions. Read an overview published in Science Daily   here.

Read the study in its entirety, published in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, here

Cog Research Journal

Kentucky Science Center Launches Community Access Membership

The Kentucky Science Center has officially launched their Community Access Membership, which provides a free Kentucky Science Center membership to any family that receives SNAP/WIC.  Pass will be a family-level membership, which includes two adults plus four children or grandchildren as well as two one-time use admission passes.

The completed form and proof of benefits can be found here.  Follow the prompts on the application to mail in or scan in your form to receive your membership card.  For any questions, contact 502.560.7158 or email

Community Access Flyer

News and Announcements

Emerging Leaders Committee

Coalition for Juvenile Justice is looking for Emerging Leaders

The deadline has been extended! The Emerging Leaders Committee is a partnership between CJJ and young people in the field of juvenile justice, many of whom bring lived expertise to their work. This group consists of 10 young people ages 16 to 24 years old from across the country. ELC Members serve on their State Advisory Group, have previous or current juvenile justice involvement, and/or are interested in juvenile justice reform. Each member serves for one calendar year and is paid up to 6 hrs/month. ELC members help to shape the overall program and policy agenda for CJJ and perform other important duties. Click here to learn more. If interested, email by December 18th.

Ambassador Workgroup

A few months ago, one of our Ambassador Workgroup members noticed a problem on the Louisville Loop.  What started as a conversation blossomed into a full-scale project that looked to improve the beautification and accessibility of the Louisville Loop through the Portland Neighborhood.  

Check out their work in this video captured by MetroTV.

The Ambassador Workgroup meets on the first Thursday of every month to discuss ways we can implement projects in our own community.  We want your help proposing and working on our next project! Find out more information by emailing

Tree planting

Racism Declared as a Public Health Crisis

On December 1, Mayor Greg Fischer signed an Executive Order declaring racism a public health crisis in Louisville.  In doing so, Mayor Fischer joins several other cities that have done so recently including peer cities Charlotte, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Memphis, and Kansas City.

Despite making this a focal point in his administration for several years, Mayor Fischer stated that the current COVID-19 pandemic, economic hardships, increased gun violence, and protests against racial inequality and the death of Breonna Taylor have made clear that distrust must be repaired through action.

Mayor Fischer highlighted several examples that demonstrate the current state of inequity in our city

  • The Black poverty rate in Louisville is nearly 3 times the white poverty rate.
  • Black residents make up 22.4 percent of the population but own only 2.4 percent of our businesses.
  • The percentage of Black residents who own their own homes is half the percentage of White residents.
  • Among college graduates, the average Black graduate earns almost $10,000 less per year than a white colleague.
  • Life expectancy can vary by as much as 12 years between some majority-Black and majority-White neighborhoods.

Along with the executive order, Mayor Fischer outlined a detailed plan for advancing racial equity for black Louisville residents.  The plan includes seven key areas for Louisville Metro Government to address: public safety, children and families, Black employment, Black wealth, housing and neighborhood investment, health, and voting.  

Citing a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that, "the United States Economy could be $8 trillion larger by 2050 if the country eliminated racial disparities in health, education, incarceration, and employment" Mayor Fischer stressed the importance of this work as it not only impacts Black residents in Louisville, but the quality of life for all residents in our community.  

The Mayor's plan for advancing racial equity calls for over 40 action steps.  The plan can be viewed here.  Additionally, Mayor Fischer outlined legislative priorities for the new year with an emphasis on reimagining public safety and advancing racial equity.  Those priorities can be found here.

Better Days Ahead

Stay Connected!

There is great work happening here in the office, and most importantly, in our community. It is our goal to keep you engaged, involved and co-leading our important work. Our vision for Louisville is a city of safe neighborhoods where everyone is supported, free of violence, and prepared for lifelong success. We can only achieve this together, so stay connected with our monthly newsletters, social media, and visit our website for more information and additional calls to action.

Past OSHN Newsletters can be viewed here.

We would love your feedback. If you have questions or concerns regarding our newsletter, or have a related event that you would like to communicate with our networks, contact Joe Newland.

Take care of each other.