Stand Up Sunday – Stand Up Louisville

Where are we, Louisville? How is our local narrative fitting into larger regional, statewide and national social conditions?

Louisville, like the rest of the country, has become a place with a more visible and increased militarized police presence. Less than a year ago our local media in conjunction with with many elected officials and police, used an incident with young people downtown to funnel over $200,000 into more surveillance and policing of youth of color particularly along the Waterfront and new areas of “urban” development. Young people were framed as rioting and dangerous. The damaging effects of this increase in the policing of young people can be seen in the case of the Misidentified 4, where young men from our community were brutalized and whose families have been vocal about the need for a civilian review board.

Antwynette Houston’s bravery and willingness to share her story, highlights the way local police engage with women of color in our community. These event along with the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner last summer, have acted as a catalyst to politicize many people in our community. For some community members, this is the first time they have had to challenge their own internalized privilege and how they show up in space. For others, this is just the next step in a long struggle to demand the recognition human dignity and the value of life.

I know for many people there is a real desire to engage, but the actual act of engaging, of “plugging-in” and taking on leadership can seem overwhelming. Sometimes wanting to “get started” in the movement, without knowing how, where or who to connect with make us unable to act. My hope is that this blog post helps to demystify where we are in the current moment and how Jefferson County KFTC members  can get involved. 

Stand Up Sundays is a space where activists, organizers, parents, artists, community media makers and concerned community member come together to combat the police violence in our neighborhoods. The space builds on the beliefs of a diversity of tactics and strategies, focusing on how individuals can be grassroots leaders. Stand up Sundays understands that we must address systemic injustice while helping to heal the individual and collective traumas that people have experienced within these systems. Stand Up Sunday is part of a larger coalition of social justice organization which have created a list of local demands that echo some of the calls from the National #BlackLivesMatter movement, while also highlighting the nuanced actions needed in our city. Our demands are as follows:

  • That a national and local database will be created to keep ALL police related shootings,

  • That the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) be required to wear a camera on their person for the entirety of their shift in addition to cameras on their vehicles,

  • That the LMPD VIPER Squad dismantle,

  • That an independent police citizens review board be created,

  • That the names of police officers involved in shootings or other police crimes be released with the incident reports as that of the victim, and

  • That the LMPD and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department discontinue receiving military grade weapons from the 1033 program. 

Stand Up Sunday will also lobby for Senate Bill 69, sponsored by Senator Reginald Thomas. This bill adds an amendment to KRS 72.025, which would hold local law enforcement accountable to the Federal Death in Custody Reporting Act 2013.

If you would like to learn more about Stand Up Sundays, coming to a meeting is always the best way to engage with other people around issues of racial, economic, environmental, gender, LGBTQ and the other intersections in our struggles for justice, meeting are always Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Carl Braden Memorial Center at 3208 West Broadway. You can also contact members through standuplouisville@gmail.com.

We must understand that like Audre Lorde said, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,” this being said our struggles for racial justice in this city are connected to issues of gentrification, displacement, economic and environmental justice. The current moment in this city is one of fast-paced, often under-researched economic development plans that do little to assess the impact on local communities and do more to increase revenues for the richest in our city. There are several alarming projects underway in our city, which should be in the collective consciousness for KFTC members; the West Louisville Walmart, The Food Hub, the potential displacement of Beecher Terrace residents, the ongoing gentrification of the Smoketown neighborhood, environmental and health concerns in Rubbertown, as well as issues that are highly nuanced to our individual neighborhoods and blocks.

Over the next few weeks, Stand Up Sundays will be supporting the work of KFTC with the legislative process. We will be engaging with bills that work to address some of these intersections of structural injustice that effect our communities. Stand up Sundays membership will be helping support  KFTC’s platform for voting rights with the support of Kentucky Voting Rights Amendment (HB 70) and economic justice with the support of comprehensive tax reform , through creative actions such as theatre of the oppressed. You can join other members from across the state, as they exercise their democratic voice. Join KFTC on February 24 for Economic Justice Lobby Day & February 26 at 9 a.m. in room 133 of the Capitol Annex for Voting Rights Lobby Day .

In addition to lobbying, having a strong democratic voice comes from really engaging with our communities, finding ways of building with one other that transform our interactions and grows power on a grassroots level. A huge part of this growing grassroots power comes from relationship building, raising of critical consciousness and breaking down isolation through the sharing of space. In Louisville, community members who are engaged in the practice of building this power. A community wide project is beginning to take place, members are mobilizing to bring back a Juneteenth Celebration to engage community members in a process of celebration, education, and collaboration. This is a huge project which could have an expansive reach into communities of color across the city. This project needs the involvement and support of people who are committed to the process of creating social change through action. If you would like to find out more about this community based project please reach out to event organizers on Facebook Page or their GoFundMe Page.