The Commonwealth of Kentucky, in its cities and rural areas, join the nation in grieving. The decision not to indict the officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor has rekindled civil unrest sparked by the feelings of injustice based on a victims race.

While I, and the commission, have no inside knowledge of the reasoning behind the decision, I can reiterate that people, especially those in our black community, are hurting and a period of understanding is necessary.

The vision at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is “A Commonwealth united against discrimination and united for equality.”

Since our inception, we have charged ourselves with the task of creating a more equitable and less discriminatory Kentucky.

Our agency was created in the civil rights era of the 1960’s and empowered through Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act to eradicate discrimination, making it illegal statewide. We are needed now just as much, if not more, as we face pivotal moments around race. In these times, as always, we stand strongly against racism in any form and support the equal protection of all of Kentucky’s residents. Our rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away simply because of who we are and what we may look like.

Here in western Kentucky, we are not separate from this discussion. We need to ensure that we create spaces to have these honest conversations centered around healing. We must welcome everyone to the table to make it certain we all share the same meal. Healing starts when we get on the same page and recognizing where we need to grow and improve.

I implore those in our city and the surrounding areas to continue to come together, furthering an open dialogue about where we are in our own community, but use that space to also talk about what changes we need to see by way of meaningful progress.

We must create a better Kentucky, a together Kentucky, and uplift all voices in our quest for a broader understanding.

Hopkins County resident Tim Thomas serves as commissioner of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.

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