King Day event: Time for action

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4 Kenton cities pledge continued focus throughout year
 
COVINGTON, Ky. – If you missed the Martin Luther King Jr. Day virtual event on Monday evening sponsored by Covington and sister cities Independence, Erlanger, and Elsmere, you can still watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x67WXRDCgDc&feature=youtu.be
 
It’s just 24 minutes long but full of candid assessment:
 
  • Independence Mayor Chris Reinersman described how some group meetings this past summer opened his eyes to instances of racism in his city and showed the ongoing need for education and awareness. “It taught me that we really need to sit down and talk to each other and understand…” he said. 
  • Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette explained how the event’s theme – “compassionate conversation” – builds on the theme of last year’s event and lays the foundation for the Kenton County cities’ coordinated efforts on the issues of racism, equality and inclusion to be kicked off this spring. “It now is the time to put action behind our ‘empathetic listening’ and start those conversations,” she said. 
  • The keynote speaker, civil rights leader Raoul Cunningham, discussed progress and lack thereof in the fight for equality and equity, urging persistence and courage. But Cunningham, who first protested against segregation at age 14 – more than six decades ago – cautioned: “There’s no quick solution to racism.” 
  • And Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said this: “If he (Dr. King) were here today, he’d be very disappointed with the behavior demonstrated throughout this country in the past year. I can only hope we will be willing to make the leap, to make change, to have the conversations needed to move us forward, to be compassionate about the past feelings and emotions that could be painful in this conversation.” 
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(Note that original plans for a much larger, public event – similar to last year’s inaugural coordinated celebration – fell victim to the pandemic response’s need for social distancing. Also, Elsmere Mayor Marty Lenhof has been part of coordinated effort but was unable to participate in the virtual event.)
 
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