The leaders of Simmons College of Kentucky and Kentucky State University, the only two historically Black educational institutions in the commonwealth, have announced new initiatives for increased financial, political, and moral investment in Black-led institutions that will be largely focused on the city of Louisville.
“When the White power structure says, ‘Let’s fix the problem,’ in many cases, they’re talking about, ‘Let’s stop the riots,'” said Frank Smith Jr., executive vice president of Simmons College. “But our goal is not to just stop the riots. Our goal is to stop the inequality at the root of the riots.”
Among the new initiatives are:
* A partnership between the two campuses to recruit and train more Black teachers for Kentucky’s classrooms. More than one-third of the students in Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky’s largest school district, are Black. But just 15 percent of the district’s teachers are.
* A Simmons-led “Kerner Commission 2,” which will seek to implement recommendations from the seminal 1968 report on racial inequality in the U.S.
* A fund drive, with the goal of local philanthropy providing 300 annual scholarships to college students.
The partnership between Simmons and Kentucky State will also allow students to transfer between the campuses, which could provide a boost in participants to a teacher pipeline program.