In March of 2023, the United States Department of Justice released their report on the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD). Partly in response to the killing of Breonna Taylor in March of 2020, this federal agency conducted an in-depth analysis of policing in the area. Of its many conclusions the report found that, “LMPD unlawfully discriminates against Black people in its enforcement activities.”

Although this information does not come as a surprise to many, we now have overwhelming data that points to the systemic nature of anti-Black police brutality. These abuses are simply symptoms of deeper issues of inequity and injustice affecting not only Louisville but communities around the nation as well. 

The question is which organizations and institutions will respond to the urgent call for immediate change in the area of racial justice. How will such entities maintain the distinct focus on Black people and communities that have historically been oppressed? What conceptual and historical resources can they bring to bear on existing racial imitative?

As a historically Black college (HBCU), Simmons College of Kentucky has been engaged in the work of racial justice since it’s inception in 1879. As an institution we seek not only to educate but to empower our students to be agents of racial progress in their communities. 

As a faith-based institution, we can also draw upon the rich faith tradition of the Black church—the oldest and largest religious movement in the U.S that was intentionally formed to oppose racism and white supremacy. Simmons College of Kentucky stands at the precipice of opportunity to synthesize, organize, and energize racial justice efforts in Louisville and beyond. 

Therefore, we are pleased to announce the formation of The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. Center for Racial Justice at Simmons College of Kentucky

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. Center for Racial Justice advocates for learning, collaboration, and systemic change to address historic and ongoing forms of racial injustice nationally.

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.

Center for Racial Justice’s focus is: 

  1. To align Simmons College of Kentucky’s culture and academic programs with Black radical traditions (resistance, confrontation, change).  
  2. To encourage and recruit Black professional talent and non-Black anti-racists into the service of Black institutional space.  
  3. To help the Black church and 100 Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to become theologically, philosophically, and ideologically aligned with the Black radical tradition.  
  4. To advocate for endowment equity for HBCUs, starting with Simmons College of Kentucky. 

The center organizes its work according to the I.N.J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Severance Model. This model assists the Center in addressing historic events and policies that are the root cause of racial disparities in America. 

This model explores: 

I – Implicit Bias

N – Narratives 

J – Jim Crow

U – Urban Renewal

S – Slavery

T – Terrorism

I – Incarceration

C – Corrections, Cops, and Courts

E – Economic Exclusion, Environmental Racism, and Education

By examining the historical significance of each of these events and their lasting impact on Black people in America, the Center is able to provide research and advocate for those impacted by these events and moves the Black community from disparity to equity.

Led by a distinguished team of scholars and practitioners from around the country, the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. Center for Racial Justice will also develop undergraduate students in their ability to identify injustice and work toward positive transformation. It will convene scholars and practitioners to share their knowledge and develop best practices for fighting racism. And it will generate and model methods for improving outcomes by shifting rules and laws to better support Black people and other people of color. 

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson , Sr. Center for Racial Justice will serve as a national leader in the field of racial justice far beyond the college campus. The time is now and long past for the people who are most affected by racism to lead the way in resisting it. 

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