Mayor Linda Gorton today asked the Urban County Council to approve a contract with Cities United to work with Lexington to develop a plan to reduce the number of homicides and shootings.
“Cities United has 130 partner communities across the country that are working together to create safe, healthy and hopeful communities,” Gorton said. “The plans are tailored to the needs of the individual cities, while also benefitting from the lessons other cities have learned. This is a national challenge that is growing. Cities United gives us the opportunity to learn more about the nation’s best practices, and frame them to fit Lexington.”
In working with Cities United, the City is focused on issues raised by the Commission for Racial Justice and Equality, among other concerns. “The Commission’s recommendations are always a touchstone we return to as we seek to improve our City,” Gorton said.
Devine Carama, Director of One Lexington, will lead the team working with Cities United. The team includes the criminal justice community, social workers, mental health professionals, the faith community and youth advocates. “The word for this season in our nation and local communities is collaboration,” Carama said. “We get so much more done when we work together! Cities United brings a big picture focus on nationally vetted practices toward making communities safer and more equitable. When you combine the work ethic and passion of our local organizations working on the frontlines every day with the expertise of a national organization like Cities United, I believe we can do some very amazing things.”
Gorton said the City’s other youth violence prevention and intervention programs, including One Lexington and Safety Net, will continue. “We’ve made progress with these programs, but it’s clear we need to do more,” she said. “We have lost too many young lives to this violence.”
The $100,000 contract will be funded through the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
The Cities United contract requires Council approval. Councilmembers were expected to take an initial vote on the contract today.