Throughout Kentucky, the United States and even in distant countries around the world, diverse groups of people are passionately uniting to demand equality and justice for African Americans. Although this is not a new battle, recent events have brought us to a pivotal moment, with potential to bring about much-needed change.

These protests are coming from pain and frustration that people have felt for a long time. They reflect the many stories of African Americans who feel they must wear a suit in order to appear nonthreatening, who feel it’s not safe for them to jog in their own community, or who feel they must be accompanied by a child or a pet to safely walk in affluent neighborhoods. This is a burden that is unique to African Americans, and it is an injustice.

Goodwill is founded on a firm belief that every person is of equal value and deserves an equal opportunity in life. We believe that the color of a person’s skin should not limit access to good schools, health care and jobs. But we all know that’s not yet reality. In today’s world, majority members of society still tend to get more opportunities, better education and better health care, while minority citizens tend to get more poverty, more incarceration and shorter lives.

Goodwill recognizes these racial inequities and works every day to correct them, one person at a time. Through our programs and services, we strive to offer each person a real opportunity to escape poverty, to have a career, to heal wounds, to reunite with children and to build the kind of life they want to have. We see many who grasp those opportunities and go on to accomplish goals they never thought they could reach.

But beyond the work we do to assist individuals who have been marginalized, Goodwill is also making a major commitment to West Louisville – home to Kentucky’s largest African American population. Many West Louisville residents face barriers that make it difficult for them to escape poverty and all the hardships that come with it. While the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed our planning and development process, Goodwill has already purchased a 20-acre property in the Parkland neighborhood, which will become our future headquarters and an Opportunity Campus providing an array of resources for people who want more choices in their lives.

There is no simple answer to racial inequity, but it requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. Everyone can play a different part, and everyone must do something. Given our mission and a footprint that serves 103 Kentucky counties, we believe Goodwill can have a significant impact on racial equity. We will use our resources and our influence to help heal the wounds of inequality and bring opportunity to all citizens.

Amy Luttrell
President & CEO
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky