Human Relations Commission Quarterly Newsletter - January 2021

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Human Relations Commission

Quarterly Newsletter - January 2021

A Message from the Director

Hello and welcome 2021. The year of 2020 started out as a year of change, but no one anticipated the type of change the world would experience with the pandemic, social injustices and the uncertainties. Let us be resourceful as we move ahead in 2021 to being hopeful and open to receive positive change for all.

In looking ahead, it brings to my mind a powerful but inspirational quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl,
but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

That is what we all must do, keep moving forward to inspire the positive change to heal.

Verná Goatley, Executive Director, Louisville Metro Government – Human Relations Commission


What is the Human Relations Commission (HRC)?

Human Relations Commission Logo  

The Louisville Metro HRC is granted both the legal authority and responsibility to investigate claims of illegal discrimination in Jefferson County, and to enforce anti-discrimination law.

We also promote civic activities and work to make them accessible, and to foster unity and understanding between diverse groups of people. Our goal is to ensure equitable opportunity and life outcomes for everyone in Louisville Metro.

The HRC staff takes discrimination complaints from everyday people just like you. If you have questions about a recent discrimination event you have experienced, whether at work, with a landlord, with a public accommodation, even a hate crime, or if you are not sure whether something that happened was discriminatory under the law, we are here to help.

Call us at 502-574-3631 or email


Human Relations Commission
to Enforce New Human Rights Ordinances

LGBTQ-Youth Conversion Therapy

On September 29, 2020, Mayor Greg Fischer signed a new law in Jefferson County to end the practice of Conversion Therapy by licensed therapists against minors. Conversion therapy is a psychologically harmful practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person. The HRC has the authority to investigate complaints of conversation therapy practices by licensed professionals, and the authority to enforce this law. Because the law is intended to protect LGBTQ youth, minors are welcome to file these complaints with us for investigation.

Housing Ordinance Increases Home Choice for Renters

Mayor Greg Fisher signed a new housing ordinance in an effort to begin correcting decades of discriminatory housing practices that promoted systemic racial, educational, and economic disparities. As of December 9, 2020, a person cannot be denied housing solely due to experiencing homelessness; a person cannot be denied housing due to prior or current military service status; nor can a person be denied housing solely due to arrest/conviction history, though some violent offenses are exempt from this protection. Beginning March 1, 2021, source of income protection becomes protected as well. Landlords will no longer be able to deny a Section 8 voucher, SSDI income, alimony, child support, and more as qualified income to rent.

Louisville Aces Human Rights Campaign Scorecard

For six years running, Louisville has earned a perfect score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign in its advancement of LGBTQ inclusivity and equity in Metro services and initiatives. Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign Director, Chris Hartman, congratulated Louisville saying, “Time and time again, Louisville has solidified its spot as a leader on LGBTQ rights in the U.S.”

The Human Relations Commission is proud of its participation in the city’s achievement. Still, there is much work to do. As we continue to build relationships with community partners to increase opportunities for education and visibility in outreach, our office will continue to resolve complaints of LGBTQ discrimination through the enforcement of local ordinances.


Cross-Cultural Connections Board Launches Healing Initiative

Healing Initiative

Join Gwendolyn Pearce, HRC Advocacy Board Commissioner, Chair
of the Cross-Cultural Connections Committee, and performative poet, on Wednesday, February 17th at 7:00pm for the second meeting of the Healing Initiative. 

We know that the divisions facing our city run deep, but in 2021 #CEEHealing will Connect us, Engage us, and Empower us. We believe healing takes individual action, within ourselves, between each other, respects and honors our diversities, and improves our community. We are committed to creating a safe space for big ideas, big conversations, and facilitating community-level action through the arts, leadership opportunities, and more. All ages, backgrounds, and experiences are welcome! Registration is easy. Email Rachel at, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on this and other events.


Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout in Kentucky

The Covid-19 vaccine is here, and it will be administered in 4 phases: 

1) Those at particularly high risk will be vaccinated in this order:

a. Health care workers, people living in long-term care and assisted living;
b. First responders, people aged 70+, and school personnel;
c. People aged 60+, people 16+ with a high-risk condition identified by the CDC.

2) Anyone aged 40+.
3) Anyone aged 16+.
4) Children under age 16 when the vaccine is approved for use in children.

Governor Andy Beshear has outlined a goal to administer 90% of vaccine received by the state within a week of receiving a shipment. To meet that goal, citizens in categorized in later phases may be able to get the vaccine sooner if the current group does not arrive at vaccination sites to be vaccinated in great enough numbers to deplete that week’s vaccine.

Phase 1a has begun. Healthcare workers who are not affiliated with a hospital can make an appointment to receive the first dose of vaccine at the LouVax immunization site at Broadbent arena. Louisville residents in Phase 1b can now sign up to receive a future appointment

Find more information about Team Kentucky’s Vaccine plan, Covid-19 monitoring, and more at


HRC’s Mission, Civic Action, Advocacy & How You Can Join in Our Work
by Reginald Q. Glass, Advocacy Board Chair

The following quotation is from the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission’s welcome page. It guides the overall work of the Human Relations Commission’s work which is divided into charges for the Commission’s two boards, Advocacy and Enforcement, and its staff.

"The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission seeks to bridge the many ethnic, racial, and religious groups in Louisville Metro through a combination of civil law enforcement and education & outreach.

"We ensure that groups in Louisville participate in civic activities and have a voice in the community by bringing awareness of our diverse populations, and a fundamental need to blend these diverse community characteristics, into a more understanding, supportive, tolerant, all-inclusive society.

"We monitor contract compliance for entities doing business with Louisville Metro Government as well as certify disadvantage businesses as Minority Owned, Woman Owned, or Disabled Owned.

"We have had legally-chartered responsibilities to enforce anti-discrimination laws in Louisville Metro/Jefferson County, Kentucky since 1962.”

As a member of and chair of the Advocacy Board, I want you to know that the Advocacy Board’s work is embodied in the first two paragraphs of that statement along with the following more defining mission statement:

“This body is composed of ten (10) members, appointed by the Louisville Metro Mayor and approved by the Louisville Metro Council. The Advocacy Board shall endeavor to promote and secure mutual understanding and respect among all economic, social, religious, ethnic, and social groups in the metropolitan area, and shall act as conciliator in controversies involving intergroup and interracial relations.”

To achieve that mission, we work with and support the work of numerous community partners including community advocacy organizations and local governmental agencies.

Relationships and Solutions

Our approach has been to leverage the concerns of these community partners and those of the public into positive dialogues with agencies, institutions and businesses that are either struggling with diversity and inclusiveness, or that have worked against these goals. Rather than being vocal critics, our first line of action is to build connections to bring concerns to the table for positive solutions.

Advocating for Equity

Our Education Committee, under the leadership of former committee chair Dawn Wilson, as a prime example of that strategy forged a working relationship with Jefferson County Public Schools to ensure all students and staff receive a fair and equitable opportunity to succeed in their various roles. First, we started quarterly meetings with JCPS and JCPS Board leadership to address issues of community concern and dissatisfaction. We worked side by side with them in the development and implementation of their Equity and Inclusion policy as well as establishing after school programs for minority students that foster mental, academic and personal growth.

The Advocacy Board has worked on an ongoing basis with fair housing advocates, disability champions, LGBQT+ advocates and advocates for marginalized racial and ethnic groups to ensure fairness, inclusion and non-discriminatory practices and attitudes in our community.

Relationships with the Louisville Metro Police Department

Much of the work involving fairness, anti-discriminatory practices and attitudes involves ongoing dialogue and partnerships with LMPD command staff to address community concerns with biased policing. After seeing some progress in terms of policy, we are not happy with how that looks on our streets and neighborhoods. Previously, we had one meeting with a former FOP President to discuss how we could build relationships between beat officers and community members they serve. He never showed up again. As a result of the continued deterioration of police/civilian relationships, we invited the current FOP president to meet with us at our January 11, 2021 board meeting, to which we received no response. Because of our commitment to our community, we will move forward with our 2021 goal of building community between beat officers and the communities they serve with, or without, the partnership with the FOP. This is a problem that is detrimental to the mental, social and economic health of our city, and it must be resolved.

Community Healing

Our Cross-Cultural Connections Committee is working diligently on a community healing initiative to involve all segments of the community in a healing process to increase understanding and acceptance between races, genders, age, ethnic, disabilities, gender identity and social economic groups. During a time of divisiveness in our nation, we will be working to make Louisville Metro a city where division is not tolerated.

Join us in Civic Action

If you would like to get involved with any of our committees, please call 502-574-3631 and a staff person will take your contact information and forward it to the appropriate committee chair. Our budgets have been drastically reduced in the last couple of years so your volunteerism will certainly help bridge our community divides.

If you are interested in serving as a commissioner, please go to to apply. You may also see other boards, commissions or committees you’d rather serve on. We look forward to your service. Just make sure you are ready to do the work to make your selected board, commission or committee successful.


Know Your District:

Did you know that a single Metro Councilperson represents approximately 26,000 Louisvillians?

Your Councilperson is your first line of city government representation, and they advocate on your behalf to Metro Council. Contacting your councilperson is a great way to get involved in the civic process. Click here to find your District. Click here to find your Councilperson.

Welcome, New Metro Council Members

The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission would like to extend a warm welcome to Councilman Jecorey Arthur of District 4, and Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong of District 8 to Louisville Metro Council.

Did you Know?

A landlord cannot deny you a reasonable accommodation for a service animal. Under the law, trained service animals and medically prescribed emotional support animals are not considered pets and they are exempt from any and all pet fees tacked on to monthly rent. A landlord cannot deny your rental application based solely on your use of a service animal or emotional support animal.


Black History Month Events in Louisville

The Frazier History Museum presents Bridging the Divide – Louisville’s Reckoning With Race
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Louisville recently declared racism a public health crisis and the University of Louisville pledged to become the premier anti-racist university. Do these steps represent real change as we deal with inequities in what is still a segregated city? Join us as we tackle the tough topic of race, if we’re truly making progress, and how each of us plays a role for lasting change.


Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville
Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, President, University of Louisville
Dr. Ricky Jones, Graduate Director & Chair, Pan-African Studies Department, University of Louisville
Senator Gerald Neal (D), District 33
Lamont Collins, President & CEO, Roots 101
Keturah Herron, Policy Strategist, ACLU

Opening remarks from the Courier Journal’s Veda Morgan on the newspaper’s special series “Beyond Breonna.”


Rachel Platt, Director of Community Engagement, Frazier History Museum
Renee Shaw, KET


Ron Jones, Community Relations Manager, 104.7 FM WLOU/1240 AM WLLV

This is a virtual program hosted on the Zoom platform. Admission is free. Visit:

The Harlem Renaissance Fast Class
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 – Starts at 6:00 p.m.
MyLibraryU presents The Harlem Renaissance. To be in Harlem in the 1920s was to be on the forefront of an intellectual and artistic explosion whose effects we still feel a century later. Dr. David Anderson (University of Louisville, Department of English) will reflect on the literature, music, art, and theatre of the Harlem Renaissance in this MyLibraryU Fast Class.
This MyLibraryU Fast Class is free and will be streamed to Facebook, but registration is requested. Click here to register or call (502) 574-1623.

Louisville Free Public Library - Annual African American Film Series
The African American History Month Film Series returns virtually to the Library every Sunday in February 2020. This free series is presented in partnership with UofL Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with an online panel discussion following each film. Registration is required and online screening seats are limited. Visit to register.

Sunday, February 7, 2021 – 2:00 p.m.
From her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told. Starring Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, and Leslie Odom Jr. Directed by Kasi Lemmons. Rated PG-13 | 2h 6m ©2019 FOCUS FEATURES

Sunday, February 14, 2021 – 2:00 p.m.
This Oscar-winning film tells the story of a working-class African-American father trying to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson. Starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Directed by Denzel Washington. Rated R | 2h 15m ©2016 PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Good Hair
Sunday, February 21, 2021 – 2:00 p.m.
Prompted by a question from his young daughter, comic Chris Rock sets out to explore the importance of hair in black culture. Documentary - directed by Jeff Stilson. Rated PG-13 | 1h 36 min ©2009 HBO FILMS

Sunday, February 28, 2021 – 2:00 p.m.
Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds. Starring John Boyega, Algee Smith, and Will Poulter Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Rated R | 2h 23 m ©2017 ANNAPURNA PICTURES

Louisville Free Public Library – Book Discussions
Crescent Hill Library Branch
Saturday, February 13, 2021 – 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Please join us for a discussion of The Autobiography of Malcolm X via the online platform Zoom.
Space is limited, so please call 502-574-1793 to make a reservation.
Physical copies of this book are available at the Crescent Hill Library for curbside pickup - please call 502-574-1793 to schedule an appointment. And there are a limited number of digital copies of this book available for download from the library's website.

Annual African American Read-In
Monday, February 22, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Visit the Louisville Free Public Library's Facebook page on February 22nd at 6:30pm for dramatic readings and performances of works by African American artists and historical figures, presented by members of Louisville's creative community. All ages.

2021 Black Superhero Showcase
Saturday, February 27, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Join this amazing virtual event, as we celebrate African-American History Month, focusing on graphic novels, artwork, and activities featuring some of the media's most popular and not-so-popular black superheroes! Ages 5+. Visit the Louisville Free Public Library's Facebook page on February 27 at 1:00 p.m.. 

Be on the lookout for more Black History Month events around Louisville, and don't miss the Human Relations Commission's daily releases on social media throughout the month of February, honoring local & regional people, places, and events, both past and present.

Community Partner Events

Violence Prevention Training

Virtual Ambassador

The Louisville Metro Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods would like to invite you to attend a Virtual Violence Prevention Training on Saturday, February 20th from 9:30am – 12:30pm. This training marks the first of a new, and more hopeful year, so there has never been a better time to participate! We will hear from experts as they cover a range of topics including Mental Health 101, Suicide Prevention, Community Organizing, Conflict Resolution, and The Public Health Approach to Violence. If you have ever wanted to be informed on individual and collective efforts to reduce violence in Louisville, this is your chance! RSVP for free at the link provided, and spread the word to ensure citizens across our city are engaged in violence prevention efforts! To RSVP, visit




YMCA Black Achievers Awards Celebration

Y Black Achievers Awards
Join the Louisville YMCA to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of local students and show appreciation for the professionals and community partners who support the Y's program.

The 42nd Annual YMCA Black Achievers Awards Celebration is set for Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 5:30pm. This year's event will be a virtual event via Zoom.

The celebration's keynote speaker is Robert Gunn, Principal at W.E.B. DuBois Academy, and the MC will be Mr. Stephon Dingle from WLKY.

This year’s Youth Achiever of the Year, Richard Chandler, and Adult Achiever of the Year, Ria Chandler, will be honored along with YMCA's other recipients.

Tickets for this year's virtual celebration will be $25. Additional details, including registration information, to follow.

Please contact Dee Sorel at with questions or for more information.



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