By Victoria Doll —
The University of Louisville Alumni Association recently hosted an event in response to widespread racial unrest titled “Anti-Racism, Justice and Safety: Compatible or Conflicting Concepts?”
The event was moderated by College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Owens, and included Cherie Dawson-Edwards, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Aishia Brown, assistant professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences; and Keturah Herron, a policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
The conversation began as Owens asked how to reshape our community to make it safer and more humane for all.
Brown advised people to study history. She encouraged people to examine how polices already in place could be racist or have outcomes that have harmed the black and brown community.
Dawson-Edwards said her goal in educating people about anti-racism is to engage in deeper conversations about race despite the discomfort it sometimes brings.
The conversation around racism played into the discussion of the settlement between the city of Louisville and Breonna Taylor’s family. The settlement, which included $12 million paid to the Taylor family, included building community relations between the LMPD and the communities they police.
Herron, who was instrumental in the passing of Breonna’s Law, was excited and hopeful about this part of the settlement but remains hesitant and skeptical about how the policies are going to be implemented.
“It’s imperative that we take community engagement seriously,” Brown said, adding that there needs to be a way to hold people accountable. She said there needs to be guidelines to begin engagement between black citizens and police.
The panelists all agreed that there needs to be emphasis on the idea that the Breonna Taylor case is a race issue, not just an accident.
“To say her death isn’t about race is wrong. The aftermath has been about race. There needs to be awareness around the fact that Black women are treated differently by the state and in society,” Herron said.
The webinar ended with a conversation about how white people can be allies and promote accountability. Dawson-Edwards said that people need to learn from their missteps.
“Trust black women. Don’t try to explain it away. Listen, it will be uncomfortable, but you have to listen,” she said. “Own what you did, tell us how you aren’t going to do that again, don’t do it again, get in line and let’s move on.”
At the end of the event, the panelists encouraged people to educate themselves on instances of police brutality in America and to listen to the people of color in their communities.
“Acknowledge that there has been change, but we still need to push for more. This same thing can happen again if something is not done,” Dawson-Edwards said.
File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal