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About Our Journey, How did we get here?

By Sarah Williams, 9/25/2020

A timeline of events in people’s uprising here in Lexington, KY.

Following the murder of #MikeBrown in Ferguson, MO, August 9, 2014, concerned citizens formed various organizations, alliances, and initiatives to address police brutality in Lexington, KY. The greatest move towards justice was realized in the local police department being required to wear body cams. View a video depicting a historical timeline of the events leading up to #LPDBodyCams with #HandsUpKY here:

The struggle was not over with this victory. The marathon for #LPDAccountability reignited in February 2019 when former Lexington Police Department chaplain was caught on video repeatedly punching an autistic teen in the upper body. View video here:

Cooperation Lexington assisted concerned citizens in filing a formal complaint against Donovan Stewart for his actions in the preceding video. In May 2019, Cooperation Lexington and concerned community met with several members of city council to present demands for #LPDAccountability. (The most recent version of these demands with a historical timeline of events can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MEPEjRKswqvGOtzQhoJCahsvDECjbr2pE2JHWwYnG7E/edit

The last week of May 2020 would bring the nation to a boiling point as black people across the country were being murdered and targeted by police. Here in Lexington, hundreds of concerned citizens took to the streets to protest police brutality, demand justice for #BreonnaTaylor #AhmadAubrey #GeorgeFloyd and #DaezonMorgan and #LPDAccountability. As our community rallied in nonviolent protests for 44 consecutive days, Cooperation Lexington, in alliance with several community groups and organizations, brought their demands to Mayor Linda Gorton, City Council, and Police Chief Lawrence Weathers again.

While the Mayor responded with the formation of the Commission on Racial Justice and Equality, tasked with dismantling systemic racism in Lexington, KY, and we await their recommendations, it is time for the people to develop and implement The Peoples Blueprint for Dismantling Systemic Racism.

To build and implement the People’s Blueprint, we must educate ourselves and our community on local issues, civic engagement, and our history. We are creating a live digital media initiative to create a COVID safe space to educate and engage community. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, Periscope, and YouTube to tune in to our digital media initiatives.


(Access the initial People’s Assembly for building this Blueprint here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-9tmmooi24a4H1nyvOuVl1ScpUjo4TPE )

To stay up to date about current civil disobedient direct action, aka protest visit Www.lpdaccountability.com

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Lexington Police Department Proposed Contract (CBA)

lexington.legistar.com/View.ashx

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City Council Vote on Police Contract 11/4/21

Email your city council members about the upcoming vote on the police contract aka collective bargaining agreement:

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council will vote to accept or reject this proposed agreement Thursday, Nov 4, 2021.

First, city council forfeits any further bargaining power if they pass the proposed CBA. Pending litigation could overturn the ban on no knock warrants and city council will have no leverage to reinstate it.

Second, we need 3 civilians added to the disciplinary review board per the Commission on Racial Justice and Equality’s recommendations. There was extensive discussion about this during the meetings of last summer.

Third, not only should the police be required to explain the complaint process to any civilian filing a complaint, they should also be informed about the Citizens Advocate and be provided appropriate contact information.

Fourth, coaching and counseling records should not be removed from officers file after a year. This does not allow the community to track patterns of behavior in bad officers.

Fifth, why are civilians chosen for the disciplinary review board subject no misdemeanors in the past five years? A minor traffic violation could be a disqualification.

Sixth, drug testing after a critical incident should not be optional, it should be required.

Finally, drop the charges against nonviolent protest leaders who brought our city to this juncture of transformative police reforms.

Text of contract:

https://tinyurl.com/LPDCBA2021

Linda Gorton mayor@lexingtonky.gov
Steve Kay Vice Mayor skay@lexingtonky.gov
All Council Members: councilmembers@lexingtonky.gov
Chuck Ellinger At Large cellinger@lexingtonky.gov
Richard Maloney At Large rmoloney@lexingtonky.gov
James Brown 1st District jbrown2@lexingtonky.gov
Josh McCurn 2nd District jmccurn@lexingtonky.gov
Hannah LeGris 3rd District hlegris@lexingtonky.gov
Susan Lamb 4th District susanl@lexingtonky.gov
Liz Sheehan 5th District lsheehan@lexingtonky.gov
David Kloiber 6th District dkloiber@lexingtonky.gov
Preston Worley 7th District pworley@lexingtonky.gov
Fred Brown 8th District fbrown@lexingtonky.gov
Whitney Baxter 9th District wbaxter@lexingtonky.gov
Amanda Mays Bledsoe 10th District abledsoe@lexingtonky.gov
Jennifer Reynolds 11th District jreynolds@lexingtonky.gov
Kathy Plomin 12th District kplomin@lexingtonky.gov

An easy copy paste of emails:

mayor@lexingtonky.gov; mayor@lexingtonky.gov; skay@lexingtonky.gov; councilmembers@lexingtonky.gov; cellinger@lexingtonky.gov; rmoloney@lexingtonky.gov; jbrown2@lexingtonky.gov; jmccurn@lexingtonky.gov; hlegris@lexingtonky.gov; susanl@lexingtonky.gov; lsheehan@lexingtonky.gov; dkloiber@lexingtonky.gov; pworley@lexingtonky.gov; fbrown@lexingtonky.gov; wbaxter@lexingtonky.gov; abledsoe@lexingtonky.gov; jreynolds@lexingtonky.gov; kplomin@lexingtonky.gov

#AmendTheCBA #LPDAccountability

Additional background:

Herald Leader Article

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A Historical Timeline from May 29, 2020 to July 9, 2021 covering the marches, protests, direct actions , and events surrounding police accountability in Lexington, Ky. #LPDAccountability

Compiled by Sarah Williams using Herald Leader archives .

(Updates and Additions to be added.)

May 29, 2020

WYMT May 29,2020 Afternoon Triangle Park

Herald Leader Article With Live Tweets May 29, 2020

Livestream clip from May 29, 2020 Beginning of Protest Gathering

May 29, 2020 8:48pm #LoveLiberates Die In at City Hall

WTVQ Livestream May 29, 2020 Evening

Livestream clip May 29, 2020 Late Evening

Livestream Clip May 29, 2020 Late Evening Courthouse

Livestream Clip May 29, 2020 Late Eve Decision to Protest Sunday May 31, 2020 8pm

https://Livestream LEX 18 Mike Valente

Livestream Clip May 29, 2020 Block Intersection

Livestream clip May 29, 2020 2nd Return to Courthouse

May 30, 2020

LEX 18 coverage evening protest

Livestream Clip May 30, 2020 (Not organized by Cooperation Lexington or LPD Accountability)

Livestream Clip May 30, 2020 No Riot Gear, Protestors On Car

Livestream Clip May 30, 2020, More Protestors On Cars

Livestream Clip May 30, 2020 LPD responds in riot gear, crowd reacts

Livestream Clip May 30, 2020 LPDs First Time Responding in Riot Gear

May 31, 2020

June 1, 2020

June 2, 2020

June 3, 2020

June 4, 2020

June 5, 2020

June 6, 2020

June 7, 2020

June 8, 2020

June 9, 2020

June 10, 2020

June 11, 2020

June 12, 2020

June 13, 2020

Southland Christian Church

June 14, 2020

https://www.wkyt.com/2020/06/15/wkyt-investigates-lexington-protesters-demands-for-change/

(Recorded June 12, 2020, aired June 14, 2020

WKYT Newsmakers

June 15, 2020

June 16, 2020

June 17, 2020

June 18, 2020

June 19, 2020

June 20, 2020

June 21, 2020

June 22, 2020

June 23, 2020

June 26, 2020

June 28, 2020

June 29,2020

July 2, 2020

Updated Demands from Cooperation Lexington,

July 4, 2020

July 5, 2020

July 6, 2020

July 7, 2021

July 8, 2020

July 9, 2020

July 10, 2020

July 12, 2021

July 14, 2021

July 15, 2020

July 17, 2020

July 19, 2020

July 22, 2020

July 24, 2020

August 2, 2020

August 9, 2020

August 12, 2020

August 13, 2020

WKYT Mind of An Activist

August 23, 2020

September 6, 2020

September 20, 2020

September 25, 2020

September 26, 2020

October 11, 2020

October 12, 2020

October 13, 2020

October 13, 2020, Steve Kay’s Attempt to Hinder Transparency and Accountability

Peoples Blueprint Blog Call to Action

October 14, 2020

October 15, 2020

October 20, 2020

October 21, 2020

October 24, 2020

Mayors Commission on Racial Justice and Equality Report

November 15, 2020

November 26, 2020

December 6, 2020

January 4, 2021

January 27, 2021

January 28, 2021

February 4, 2021

February 5, 2021

February 20, 2021

February 28, 2021

March 3, 2021

March 7, 2021

Unitarian Universalist Homily, “At the Heart of Protest”

March 10, 2021

March 13, 2021

March 15, 2021

March 18, 2021

March 20, 2021

April 1, 2021

April 9, 2021

April 10, 2021

April 11, 2021

April 16, 2021

April 22, 2021

April 23, 2021

April 25, 2021

May 5, 2021

May 8, 2021

May 16, 2021

May 21, 2021

May 22, 2021

May 23, 2021

May 26, 2021

May 28, 2021

June 10, 2021

June 18, 2021

June 24, 2021

June 26, 2021

July 1, 2021

July 2, 2021

July 7, 2021

July, 8, 2021

City Council Meeting Public Comment

City Council Meeting Public Comment Reva Russell English

City Council Meeting Public Comment FOP President

City Council Meeting Public Comment Jamila Green

July 9, 2021

Sign the petition

http://www.tinyurl.com/dropthechargeslex

#AmendTheCBA

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Bluegrass Uprising of 2020

Gallery
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Victory Gardens Lex #LexGrow #ReclaimTheLand

Check out recent community building work in securing a local food supply.

Victory Gardens Lex #LexGrow #ReclaimTheLand

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capitol riots, civil war, sarah williams

2021 is 1861

The precipice Amerikkka finds itself on in 2021 is a hemorrhaging wound that has festered since 1861 and inflicted repeatedly since the 1600s. The twisted lies and delusional illusions of racist white supremacy, whether about stolen elections or the perceived inferiority of melinated people ordained by a white Jesus that is literally a figment of the imagination have spread “strange fruit” across the globe. We have yet to bring an end to this evil that brings us to this current Anthropocene.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was elected as president and confederate, white supremacist supporting states fearing the loss of slavery as a lawful institution of forced labor and brutality, seceded from the Union and thus began the Civil War. In 2021, Republican elected officials and its base of white supremacists, fearing the loss of political power in the hegemonic heteropatriarchal white nationalist capitalist power structure at the hands of voting black and brown people, committed a deadly act of insurrection on our nation’s Capitol. 

2021 is 1861.

After the Civil War, America made an insufficient attempt at Reconstruction to address the inequalities lingering from chattel slavery’s “strange fruit.” White Supremacy’s response was the Klu Klux Klan and Jim Crow. The KKK and Jim Crow laws would reign violence, terror, segregation, oppression, and marginalization on black people until the 1960’s. The 1960s would usher in the continued war on black people through the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs and the continued construction of government sanctioned housing projects ensuring segregation and marginalization BIPOC.

2021 is 1861 because we find ourselves at the same precipice of facing the demons of white supremacy that must be uprooted from our society and culture, systems and institutions. Black people are still getting murdered by police aka slave patrols; our communities, education, and healthcare remain underfunded and subpar; the welfare of our communities is dependent on the non profit industrial complex passing out crumbs from the table inside the burning house; the mass incarceration of black people in the prison industrial complex surpasses the number of people enslaved in 1850; and black mothers and babies face death rates higher than when our bodies and children were considered property of the slave owning whites. 2021 is 1861 and white supremacsts and their supporters have fired the first shots in the continuation of the Civil War of 1861. 

2021 is 1861 and we must not repeat the same mistake of enacting laws of equality and justice within a culture and society with systems and institutions still dictated by and dedicated to upholding the illusions of white supremacy. No one committed to complete liberation from such delusions should be pacified by “healing” without accountability. 

The survival of life itself on this planet depends on dismantling the hegemonic heteropatriarchal white nationalist power structure birthed five centuries ago when people, land, and resources became a commodity to be exploited, perfecting the delusion and illusion to create a collective amnesia of the indigenous wisdom that all life is a single breathing tissue.

What must be fundamentally different in this moment to every historically parallel moment is collective and unadulterated accountability of white supremacy aka “whiteness” and anyone who participates in its functioning and perpetration. Accountability includes “accepting responsibility” and accounting “for one’s actions.” This requires the following steps:

  1. The hegemonic heteropatriarchal white nationalist power structure and its benefactors and supporters must accept responsibility for coddling, nurturing, and birthing the delusional illusions of racism white supremacy. 
  2. A critical mass of people must commit to calling out “whiteness”, racism white supremacy whenever and however it exists within our society and culture and our systems and institutions.
  3. No longer is inaction or complacent indifference a placid platitude pacifying a seething illness metastasizing over the past five centuries. If all the outrage and horror at the display of “whiteness” in the white supremacist’s insurrection is real beyond “the affective aspect of consciousness” aka emotion, we must find the resolve to do what we have failed to do since 1776 when this country acknowledged the fundamental truth that “all men are created equal, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and abolish white supremacy.
  4. This Amerikkkan Revolution to become an America where “justice is what love looks like in public,” is fundamentally spiritual. We must shift from the rationalized European mindset that separates the parts from the whole, thus viewing people, land, and resources as property to be owned, conquered, developed, and colonized to birthing the remembrance embedded in the 5 generations of ancestral memory in our DNA, that all life is interconnected and only with Love and Love’s enduring respect of all life can we shift our ways of being towards collective liberation and sustainability of all life. 

By these spiritual acts, the dismantling of the system of white supremacy and the uprooting of the hate breed by the false social construct of Amerikkkan whiteness will be complete.

2021 is 1861 and the real, hard question each of us must answer within ourselves for collective healing in this moment from the ills of white supremacy is, do we Love the essence of ourselves literally made from stardust (“matter is the skin of spirit”) to no longer live in ways that requires our sense of self worth, self-love to be extracted from the illusions of the social construct of white supremacy and its systems and institutions?

“The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep inside of us.”

– Audre Lorde

“If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”

 – James Baldwin.

“Love as ‘the will to extend one’s self for the the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.’ Love is as love does. Love is an act of will–namely, both an intention and an action.” 

– bell hooks

Sarah Williams is Community Activist, Civic Change Agent, and Co-Founder of Cooperation Lexington and Peoples Blueprint

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MLK Day Debut of “Fire and Heart: A Blueprint for Liberation”

Lexington’s annual MLK day celebration will be different this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Lexington native filmmaker Joan Brannon has produced, directed, and written a documentary “focusing on the African American quest for social justice from the Civil Rights era to our contemporary moment.”

“In the place of a traditional commemorative program held in Heritage Hall, the Committee has partnered with Lexington born film maker, Joan Brannon to create the documentary, Fire and Heart: A Blueprint for Liberation. The documentary examines racial justice and healing discourse for Black people in Kentucky. It includes clips from past MLK Lexington celebrations. It invites the voices of activists and community members currently involved in the movement to share their experiences with direct action, protest, and to discuss the need for healing from racial trauma within the Black community. Featured storytellers are: Jecorey Arthur, Hannah Drake, Chester Grundy, Ann Beard Grundy, Keturah Herron, LeTonia Jones, Sadiqa Reynolds, and Sarah Williams. Additional creators of the film include, LaShelle Allen (music) and Nzingha-Beverley Sweeney-Sheppard (visual art).”

“Fire and Heart: A Blueprint for Liberation will go live for viewing on the MLK Holiday Committee’s YouTube channel on Jan. 18, at 11 a.m. Following the debut, the documentary will be screened across several area media platforms and channels throughout January and February 2021.”

Access the YouTube Channel for debut here:

https://youtube.com/channel/UCmPv9RzFkq–GNSJbJeVbLw

Find more info on march and film here.

Watch the trailer for the documentary:

Sign the petition to #DropTheCharges against protest organizers for #LPDAccountability

https://tinyurl.com/DropTheChargesLex

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Drop the Charges Lexington

January 6, 2021 will forever be marked as the day the world bore witness to the complicit actions of law enforcement and police in defending, maintaining, and participating in racism/white supremacy. As hundreds of white people stormed the capital in a riot of insurrection, they were allowed to leave the crime scene without arrest. While the past several days have held headlines of people being arrested from across the country for their participation in Wednesday’s attempted coup, people across the globe witnessed officers holding open barricades, taking selfies, and now reports have emerged from capital officers of fellow police flashing their badges as they were breaking into the capital. Social media and mainstream media have highlighted the stark difference in police response to BLM protests occurring across the country versus their lack of response in using tear gas, rubber bullets, force, and lack of arrests. 


Over the summer of 2020, Lexington witnessed the Lexington Police Department target local organizers and arrest 20 people for doing a nonviolent die-in at the police station. A month later, protest organizers were arrested for crossing the street. Unlike other cities across the country, no property was damaged during Lexington’s non violent protests and no police officer faced assault or injury from protest participants.


If you believe in justice, if you believe that America can transcend our historical divisions along racism/white supremacy, join in the call demanding all charges against those arrested June 13, 2020 and July 11, 2020 be dropped.

Follow Cooperation Lexington, Peoples Blueprint, and LPD Accountability for updates on court cases and the continued fight for #LPDAccoutability 

https://www.lpdaccountability.com/blog/lexington-police-department-arrests-peaceful-demonstrators

Sign the Petition Here: https://www.change.org/DropTheChargesLex

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Digital Media Updates

We are preparing to take our Peoples Blueprint to digital media. As we prepare, we are sharing a test video to work out any kinks we encounter.

This first video is simply a song relevant to the revolution with pictures and banners displayed. We want to ensure the comment features work across all platforms as well. Feel free to view the video here (and stayed tuned as our official launch begins.) https://youtu.be/ybkl6BFRExY

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Looking to 2022, #LindaAndSteveMustLeave

As we await election results on a national stage, lets discuss what we need to change locally in 2022. Linda (the mayor) has been largely silent and thus complicit in her failure to directly address #LPDAccountability, still refusing to ban no knock warrants, failing to address Lexington Police Department ‘s complicit actions in the murder of Breonna Taylor through the hiring and lack of discipline given to Brett Hankinson.

Steve (vice mayor) underhandedly introduced an amendment that would prohibit city council from asking questions or seeking further information about police discipline they vote to approve or reject. Instead of adding this amendment as an agenda item for the meeting, he introduced it during council comments. This required citizens to comb through over two hours of video to locate the introduction of this amendment. Find the video here:

While Steve has asserted that community members simply “misunderstand” his amendment – we understand clearly that city council currently has the right to call witnesses and gather evidence according to local and state law. Steve Kay attempted to give away this current right of council. Steve insisted it be voted on immediately, despite several council members suggesting council wait for the recommendations from the Law Enforcement Subcommitee of the Comission on Racial Justice. Steve wanted this ban on the books prior to the recommendations because these recommendations include adding civilians to both the investigative and disciplinary stages of police discipline. We the people will undoubtly add a deeper level of transparency in investigation and discipline of police officers – Steve tried to stop this before it began.

The amendment Steve introduced has been moved to the Public Safety Commmitee for further discussion. This will happen on November 17.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: The Racial Justice Commission’s recommendations include the addition of community members to the investigation and discipline of officers in a way that DOES NOT REQUIRE STATE LAW CHANGES!!!!!!! The default excuse of local public officials in delaying #LPDAccountability is the need to change state law – this can no longer be the excuse, the commission has charted a way to accomplish civilian participation in police investigation and discipline without changing state law.

ELECTION DAY AND LOCAL POLITICS:

Election Day is gifting a change in our local city council with incumbents Bill Farmer Jr. and Fred Brown being ousted by Liz Sheehan and Christian Motley according to current prescient reporting at 9:17AM 11/4/2020. This is a key first step to ensuring systemic racism is dismantled in this city.

Stayed tuned to People’s Blueprint for further updates.

Find the full report from the Law Enforcement SubCommittee here:

Full Report 10/23/2020

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