A Path Forward Responds to Anti DEI Legislation

February 19, 2024

To whom it may concern:

We, the undersigned, vehemently oppose SB93, SB6, HB9, HB191, HB224, and HB304–a slew of bills moving through the Kentucky General Assembly that threaten Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs statewide. These bills are simply more attempts by state legislators to specifically harm Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), the most diverse school district in the state, and more generally, to claw back progress the Commonwealth has made over the last few years. On the heels of the killings of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we released A Path Forward, a blueprint for Louisville and the Commonwealth to be as intentional in repairing the harm done to Black, poor, and marginalized people as they were in instituting decades of harm, to begin with. 

These proposed bills ignore that blueprint and do further harm. They are bad for our students. They are bad for education. They are bad for the Commonwealth. They are bad for our economy. They are bad for our democracy. SB93, in particular, negatively targets non-whites, protects misguided ideas, and generates false hysteria about the intent of public schooling, marginalized people, and those seeking truth. This bill is anti-difference. It is against meeting the needs of Kentucky children. It excludes anyone who seeks to be acknowledged, accepted, and respected and differs from antiquated, racist, sexist, and ableist thought. 

DEI work ensures that we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. It creates pathways to truth, accountability, and reconciliation. Good DEI work fosters environments where students can learn, top talent can work, and diverse communities thrive. We understand the power of Diversity, the need for Equity, and the goodness of Inclusion. The authors of these bills fear that power, want to starve that need, and have no desire to promote goodness. Senators Stephen Meredith, Gary Boswell, Donald Douglass, Lindsey Tichenor, and others are intent on keeping Kentucky stagnant or dragging us back to a time when all the voices of power and influence looked and thought the same. 

But we will not go back. This letter is a reaffirmation. Free, quality public education is a fundamental right that should be available to all. This state belongs to the people, and we will fight for progress and against those who impede it. This letter is also a line in the sand for those elected officials in Frankfort, Louisville, or anywhere else who sit idly by. To those corporate, foundation, and community leaders perched on the fence waiting for a victor before choosing a side. Or to anyone unwilling to use your platform and your voice for justice.

Silence is speech, and it speaks loudly. Your willful absence from the fight will not absolve you from accountability for the harm that is done. We invite you to stand with the people. To stand against racist, sexist, classist, and ableist ideologies and policies that divide and isolate. To stand for quality education, truth, and a prosperous future for Kentucky. Together, we can forge a brighter, more thoughtful, and more equitable Path Forward for everyone. 

For the Commonwealth,

Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,396

Lyndon PryorLouisville Urban League
Savvy ShabazzAll of Us or None KY
Timothy Findley, Jr.
Darryl Young, Jr.IRC Louisville
Mikal ForbushCenter for Neighborhoods
Kevin DunlapREBOUND, Inc.
Derek BellAlpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Ronald Gallo, Ed.D.Community Foundation of Louisville
Rosalind WelchLouisville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc
Aukram BurtonRamImages
Louisville Showing Up for Racial JusticeLouisville Showing Up for Racial Justice
Ericka SewardShawnee Neighborhood Association
Audwin HeltonSpatial Data Integrations, Inc.
Shameka Parrish-WrightVOCAL-KY (Voices of Community Activists and Leaders-Kentucky)
Ebony O'ReaMaking Changes Together, LLC
Rhonda Mathies
Amber DukeACLU of Kentucky
Councilman Jecorey ArthurLouisville Metro Council District 4
Anthony SmithCities United
Verna Goatley
Diane Moffett
John Borders, Jr.
Dr. Patricia CarverBellarmine University
Thomas Williams, Jr.Alpha Phi Alpha
Dentia NorrisLouisville Urban League
Marty PollioJCPS
Kenyata Dean BaconKAAPR
Carla WallaceLouisville Showing Up for Racial Justice
Cassandra WebbRussell: A Place of Promise
Dr. Eric French, Sr.Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
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