African American Equity
Adam Edelen is committed to building a more just, equitable and fair Kentucky with real attention paid to communities of color. Kentucky must acknowledge a past in which many African Americans were denied not just the opportunities offered to their neighbors, but also basic human dignity in the form of housing, education, healthcare and an equal voice in government.
Our Commonwealth has come a long way since the days of Jim Crow, but there is still important work to be done in the immediate future.
Adam Walks the Walk
As Chairman of the Board of the Lexington Urban League, Adam learned at the feet of the League’s CEO P.G. Peeples, Sr. about black oppression and white privilege. For too long, politicians have engaged in conversation about race and equity – but their follow-up actions have been seriously insufficient. As a Commonwealth, the time for inaction has passed. African Americans in places like Louisville’s West End, one of America’s “forgotten places,” have been patient. The same is true for people of color in Lexington, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Covington, Paducah, Hopkinsville and many other Kentucky communities. We must have serious change — now.
Investing in the black community is a vertical solution to the unique problems of black America. Horizontal solutions that lift all of Kentucky are important: that’s fairness. Vertical solutions that address black Kentucky’s unique needs are a priority: that’s equity.
Restoring the Voice of Black Communities at the Ballot Box
Kentucky must restore voting rights to those who have had them stripped away by our criminal justice system. When Adam is elected governor, he will strongly support legislation to fully restore the voting rights of those who have paid their debt to society. If lawmakers in Frankfort don’t act on this, Adam Edelen will do it himself by signing restoration of voting rights orders, person by person, for all 300,000 Kentuckians currently barred from participating in their own government.
“Banning the Box”
We can’t ask those who have served their time through prison, probation and parole to rejoin our society if we throw up roadblocks between them and honest work. As governor, Adam Edelen will issue a “Ban the Box” executive order covering every state government employment position and every contract for doing business with state government. Thirty-three other states and more than 150 municipalities have “Ban the Box” laws, and it’s past time Kentucky join their ranks.
It is important to note that “Ban the Box” laws and executive orders aren’t about allowing employers to be unaware of an individual’s history with the criminal justice system. Instead, these laws and orders don’t allow a citizen, in the first stage of a job application, to be denied any opportunity to apply for a position. These sensible laws are in place to make sure qualified citizens are not denied a foot in the door for employment.
Bringing state government to Louisville’s West End
Adam will put a regional governor’s office at Simmons College of Kentucky. Kentucky’s government must be accessible to everyone. It’s time that state government came to the people of West Louisville.
Creating Affordable Housing
The lack of home ownership in historically black neighborhoods did not happen by accident. Years of institutional “redlining” and the denial of home loans helped to create an astronomical wealth deficit for black families. Limited opportunities for home ownership deny too many black families the opportunity to build generational wealth that can be passed down from parent to child. No stone will be left unturned in seeking solutions to increase access to affordable housing and real promotion of home ownership.
Producing Economic Opportunities
Adam Edelen’s running mate, Gill Holland, has a record of entrepreneurship by creating meaningful opportunities in Kentucky’s forgotten communities. As lieutenant governor, Gill’s primary responsibility will be to bring opportunities to every Main Street in Kentucky. He is uniquely qualified to expand on those entrepreneurial successes as the point person for collaborating with local governments, non-profits and individual Kentuckians to replicate these successes in communities across the Commonwealth.