We know from experience that in close elections—whether local or national—every vote counts.
Likewise, in fulfilling God’s mandate to “seek justice” and stand up as our brother’s/sister’s keeper, every person counts—our local officials take notice of an auditorium filled to capacity, and that’s when things happen that officials previously said “could not be done,” things like:
- Creating affordable housing units for more than 500 households in Lexington, who previously could not afford housing.
- A restorative justice program in our Family Court System for youth who are using drugs and alcohol—an alternative to jail, a program that demonstrates results in changing lives.
- Drug treatment for more than 400 incarcerated women, when previously a successful treatment program existed only for men.
- Primary healthcare to more than 14,000 uninsured adults after BUILD won a measure that resulted in services by Fayette County Health Department and other providers.
- Last year’s BUILD victory that achieved greater access to and more services available for those in need of mental healthcare. But more needs to be done. . .
This year our social justice network, our BUILD coalition, is proposing initiatives on two fronts:
- Crime and Violence: In 2016, there were 101 shootings in Lexington that left 81 injured and 24 dead. Our friends and neighbors continue to suffer from these violent crimes while no discernable steps are being taken to curb this uptick in crime and violence. So BUILD has identified a program, created by the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), that offers an evidence-based approach, a program that would be tailored to meet the needs of our city. The program NNSC recently designed for Cincinnati (Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, CIRV) brought a dramatic reduction in crime and violence. The NNSC could craft a similar measure that works for Lexington—if our law enforcement agency would simply be willing to explore this and work with the NNSC to make that happen. BUILD is currently meeting with interested stakeholders who are listening, including the Vice Mayor.
- Mental Health: Last year BUILD advocated for and won increased treatment for those in need of mental healthcare. We gained not only the ability to treat more patients, but also more extensive services that can now be provided. But our research indicates that more needs to be done. In our efforts to craft the best proposal for our next step in mental healthcare, we have met with the Center for Evidence Based Practices at Case Western, ER professionals who deal directly with mental health, the Director of Bluegrass at the Detention Center, and the Director of Homelessness Prevention. All these professionals are helping to clarify what we still need and what would be the most strategic initiative to propose at this time.
In recent months, people who have never been involved in social justice issues are now looking
for ways to stand up and be counted as an advocate for the marginalized, a defender of the
defenseless. Some are people of faith, others are simply responsible citizens, obeying the inner
voice that instinctively compels us to love our neighbors by standing in solidarity on their behalf.
If you or someone you know is looking for a way to make a difference in our community, save
this date and join us for this key event:
The Nehemiah Action at Heritage Hall
Tuesday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.
Sponsored by BUILD: Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-action
Put the date on your calendar and indicate your commitment to attend the event and stand with our parish by completing the simple sign-up form just above this article. Thank you!