Good morning! Normally, I try to keep this “morning missive” light and chatty, because who needs heavy first thing in the morning?
But this morning, my heart isn’t into “light and chatty”:
— The killing of black people by police and others is an ongoing wound that we have tried to ignore for too, too long.
— In Louisville, at least, we saw destruction one night, then unnecessary use of force another night.
— We have a racist president who is doing his best to fan the flames, and who may use this moment to further expand his powers and further damage our democracy.
— Millions have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, yet our own senior senator says trying to help them is a “wish list.”
— And, we still have a deadly virus roaming the land.
So yeah, not too light this morning.
BUT — the first step in dealing with a problem is acknowledging it and naming it. Perhaps we as Americans are finally ready to admit our problems with racism, and in our economic system, and in our society as a whole. And perhaps we are ready to do more than talk about them.
And perhaps, one of the things Forward Kentucky can do is keep naming these things, and keep pushing for change, for progress, for governance and government that is life-giving.
So, in the midst of all this, that is the hope I hang on to: that by honestly naming what’s out there and in here, and by reaching out to others, we can build something better in the midst of the bad. That hope is what can keep us going – even on dark Mondays.
Keep hoping, and keep working. We will too.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Demonstrations across Kentucky
Over the weekend, there were demonstrations in Louisville, Lexington, and other cities. We encourage you to read the excellent work being done by the Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader covering the events in those cities, as well as your local media for anything that happened in your area. Here are some links to get you started:
On third night, protesters march, chant, kneel and pray with Lexington police
For the third night in a row, protesters gathered Sunday in downtown Lexington to call for an end to police violence. The crowd that gathered Sunday at the courthouse lawn was the biggest yet. Protesters marched through several downtown streets, stopping in front of police headquarters on Main Street, where they stood face-to-face with a line of Lexington police officers. Many of the protesters kneeled and shouted ‘Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”
Later in the evening, protesters again faced Lexington officers in front of the headquarters building. The protesters chanted for police to kneel with them. After a number of officers kneeled, protesters moved forward to embrace them. Several protesters thanked the officers or fist bumped them. Another told police he shouldn’t have to live in fear of what police might do to him. (Herald-Leader)
From tense to touching moments, here’s how Louisville’s protests went down Sunday night
Protests over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor rocked Louisville for a fourth straight night on Sunday. Police didn’t waste much time breaking up Sunday night’s largest gathering.
An estimated 1,000 protesters came together before 8 p.m. at Jefferson Square Park, at Sixth and Jefferson streets, which was also the site of the largest gathering on Thursday. They marched there after meeting at the Muhammad Ali Center and coursing through downtown, blocking traffic on Broadway at one point and chanting “Breonna Taylor” in front of Metro Corrections.
The scene at Jefferson Square on Sunday didn’t last until the 9 p.m. curfew that Mayor Greg Fischer announced in the wake of violent protests and looting on Friday. Police rolled into the area and announced that they would be breaking up the demonstration because it was an “unlawful assembly.” Minutes later, they shot flash bangs and tear gas into the crowd, scattering the protesters onto nearby streets. (Courier-Journal)
Peaceful protests in Danville, Louisville, Grand Rivers
Two of our photographers, Nick Lacy and Del Ramey, attended peaceful protests over the weekend in Danville and Louisville, and shot the photo galleries that we’re sharing with you below. And, there was a small protest in Grand Rivers, a small Kentucky Lake resort community, and Daniel Hurt, one of our readers, was able to get a picture of that as well. (Forward Kentucky)
‘We need to heal’: Black Lives Matter holds ‘Healing Ceremony’ in downtown Louisville
Under a sun-splashed sky in downtown Louisville Sunday, John Randolph stood before a congregation of nearly 500 people, bowed his head and prayed. Randolph joined throngs of others, including state leaders and local activists, mid-afternoon for a more than hour-long Black Lives Matter Healing Ceremony outside the KFC Yum Center on West Main Street.
As about a dozen uniformed LMPD officers quietly looked on, state Rep. Charles Booker, D-Louisville, addressed the crowd and stressed the importance of understanding and unification. “You have every right to be angry. You have every right to be frustrated … our lives are important. We matter. That’s what this is about,” said Booker, also a candidate for U.S. Senate. “Us coming together saying we don’t want to have to deal with someone losing their life … anywhere. In this society because we need to surpass our dreams.” (Courier-Journal)
ACLU statement on police violence against protesters and the press
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky issued the following statement regarding police violence against protesters and the press in Louisville. (Forward Kentucky)
State awards nearly $8B in Medicaid business, but Louisville-based Passport not chosen
After a second round of bids, Kentucky has awarded contracts worth nearly $8 billion a year to five outside insurance companies to manage most of its Medicaid business, which provides health coverage for about 1.4 million people. In a blow to Louisville-based Passport Health Plan, the state again has rejected its bid. Anthem, which like Passport holds a current contract and had sought a new one, also was not chosen.
Contracts were awarded Friday to Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Humana Health Plan and Wellcare Health Insurance of Kentucky, all of which hold existing contracts with the state, as well as two newcomers, the Minnesota-based United Healthcare and Molina Health Care of Long Beach, California. (Courier-Journal)
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Did you miss any of these?
Featured Content on Forward Kentucky
([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)
— News —
[new] Louisville Metro councilwoman’s statement on Breonna Taylor – Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith released the following statement regarding Breonna Taylor, “Breonna’s Legacy,” and “Breonna’s Law.” (read)
[new] Virus cases spike; Beshear says too early to draw conclusions – 5/29 update – Coronavirus cases in Kentucky spiked Friday, to levels not seen in two weeks, but Gov. Andy Beshear said it’s too early to reach conclusions from that. (read)
🔥 [new] Beshear statement on Louisville demonstrations, National Guard – Governor Andy Beshear issued a statement this morning on the demonstrations in Louisville, and announced he was activating the National Guard to help keep people safe. (read)
🔥 Beshear offers statistics to show that his ‘drastic and significant steps’ saved thousands of lives, says to ‘remember the lessons’ – The governor shared graphs showing the decline, and noted KY was one of only three states that Vox says are ready to reopen. He also announced new openings, as well as a re-org of the unemployment division. (read)
🔥 Ditch Mitch Fund starts new anti-McConnell ad campaign – The Ditch Mitch Fund announced they have placed a multi-million dollar ad buy for the summer, with the first ad highlighting McConnell’s continual votes against health insurance protections. (read)
House Dems call for censure of Maddox – The Kentucky House Democratic Leadership has called on the Republican leadership of the House to begin a formal censure of Rep. Savannah Maddox for her recent “incendiary” comments. (read)
Coleman on recent events and being a good teammate – Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman shares her thoughts on the recent events at the Capitol, and on what it takes to be a good teammate. (read)
🔥 Dying of whiteness – Some people are willing to harm themselves, even die, just to maintain their belief in white superiority. The coronavirus is making that even more real. (read)
Republicans, do you REALLY want to condemn political violence? Do this. – Republican leaders have “condemned” what went on. This is a first step, but there’s more to be done. Neal Turpin lays out the next step: leave the party. (read)
— Policy —
🔥 [new] If the George Floyd video had been taken in Kentucky, this bill would have kept us from seeing it. – Many have seen the video of the brutal actions of police that killed George Floyd. But under a proposed bill, such video would have been inaccessible in Kentucky. (read)
— Media —
[new show] Dr. Steven Stack on COVID, Harry Neack on Indivisible endorsements – We talk with Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s “top doc,” about the pandemic and our state’s response to it. Then, we get the backstory on how the Indivisible endorsements happened from Harry Neack. View it here! (watch)
[new podcast] Effigy fallout, road budget special session, and interview with Roberto Henriquez – This was a dark week for Kentucky politics. We talk through the protest that led to the effigy hanging and the fallout stemming from it. Also, a special session to deal with the road budget. And finally, an interview with Roberto Henriquez, an organizer with Indivisible Kentucky District 4. (listen)
Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days
( 🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)
- On Savannah Maddox, photos, and terrorism (3,000+ shares)
- Paul makes coronavirus claims not backed by science, fact-checked by WFPL reporter (2,000+ shares)
- IG investigating McConnell’s wife fired by Trump (2,000+ shares)
- Congrats, KY, you got your R nought below 1. So don’t blow it. (1,000+ shares)
- We’re still getting an F on our census test. C’mon folks, do better! (1,000+ shares)
- America isn’t being reopened – it’s being ripped apart by propaganda using the 2016 Russian playbook (432 shares)
- Dying of whiteness (393 shares)
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