Louisville’s historically-Black college (HBCU), Simmons College of Kentucky, has announced the formation of Kerner Commission 2.0, which is comprised of education and business leaders dedicated to achieving racial equity and education justice.
The original Kerner Commission was in established in in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson following major civil unrest in U.S. cities. In 1968, the Commission released a “Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders,” which detailed the causes of the unrest and urged reforms to achieve racial justice.
However, during the same year the Commission released its report, civil unrest began again as Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the Kerner Commission dissolved as Johnson’s presidential term ended.
Kerner Commission 2.0 was created as a result of the unrest that took place in early 2020 after the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. The calls for racial justice gained national attention, and groups like Simons College have taken action to prevent the past from happening again.
The Kerner Commission 2.0 has laid out Five Commitments to achieve racial equity and education justice:
- Prepare, train, and employ Black educators, annually, for teaching career tracks across public and private K-12 school systems.
- Increase the type and number of scholarships for Black students to attend (and maintain enrollment at) Kentucky’s HBCUs.
- Develop and sustain career pathways to promote a thriving Black middle class in Louisville.
- Utilize the soon-to-be-developed Black Asset Map as a means to advance economic equity for Black Louisvillians, and integrate the same in the execution of Louisville’s future economic and community development strategic priorities.
- Establish a deeper relationship with and support of Kentucky’s two (2) HBCUs.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts has been chosen to serve as one of the 12 commissioners dedicated to this ongoing effort. Results from the Kerner Commission 2.0 efforts will be reported later in 2021.