Mayor taps Carama to lead One Lexington

Mayor Linda Gorton today named Devine Carama Director of One Lexington, a program that works to coordinate, leverage and mobilize City Government and community resources to enhance safety and quality of life in neighborhoods experiencing violent crime.

“Devine has been living the mission of One Lexington for at least 15 years – long before we started One Lexington,” Gorton said. “Through hip hop, teaching, community engagement and volunteer work he has built programs and initiatives that reach out to young people and help them build successful lives.”

Carama’s career is hard to contain on a resume. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches a course that merges hip-hop writing and community engagement. He is the director of “Believing In Forever,” which offers youth programming like “Poetry in Motion Youth” and community service projects, like “A Coat To Keep The Cold Away.” He is a community engagement coordinator with FEND, which helps students “beat the opioid crisis.” He teaches an interactive summer class on the history of hip hop and how to write hip hop lyrics through the Carnegie Center. 

“To me a community operates at its best when different people from different walks of life with different ideologies come together. There is only one way for Lexington to become and stay a safer place and that is for us to come together as ONE. I look forward to utilizing my new position to be a bridge between government agencies and community partners to better serve the people of Lexington,” Carama said.

Like many cities across the country, Lexington has seen increased violence this year, often involving young people, Gorton said. “This violence is often preventable and it has to stop. This is a call to action … we have the community resources to help, and we need to intensify our efforts to reach out to these young people.”

Carama is a native of Lexington. He studied journalism at Aquinas College in Nashville, and business management at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

Among many other awards, Carama won the Bluegrass Community Foundation Black Leadership Award in 2021, was named a “Point of Light” by the late President George H.W. Bush in 2018, and was the recipient of the Lauren K. Weinberg Humanitarian Award in 2018.

Carama and his wife, Cierra Spaulding, who is a life coach for girls and young women, have three daughters.

Carama replaces Laura Hatfield, who has moved to a new position in Parks & Recreation. He is expected to begin work on June 7. His appointment is subject to the approval of the Urban County Council.