On Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer asked Dr. Blaine Hudson, U of L’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and author, to chair a work group that will try to chip away at the issue of West End violence.
Friday afternoon, a press conference announced this nascent coalition. Hudson stood with LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, Dr.LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the city’s Public Health and Wellness Department, and Sadiqa Reynolds, the city’s chief of community building.
So who will be included in this work group? How big will it be? That’s all to be determined. Reynolds said first they want to create an inventory of existing charities, churches and nonprofits interested in partnering with the city. And they’re doing that through their website.
If this sounds like an open call for the most vocal, familiar faces wanting to sit at a mayor’s roundtable, Hudson says he doesn’t anticipate this group working like that.
He tells LEO this won’t be a process of individuals “campaigning” or “nominating themselves.” Instead, he envisions this group seeking individuals who can work intimately and effectively with the west Louisville community.
Over the last week, many longtime west Louisville residents have expressed frustration that the outpouring of support since the May 17 shootings in Parkland sounds awfully similar to political rhetoric of yore.
Hudson, who co-authored Two Centuries of Black Louisville, tells LEO he’s been involved in “more of these groups” than he’d like to count. But he’s “guardedly” hopeful about this initiative, adding that this is the first time the Mayor’s Office has coordinated a response post-violence and says that’s a positive sign.
“I’m willing to try,” Hudson says.