Mayor of city where Breonna Taylor was killed apologizes to Black residents for centuries of racism
“For now,” Fischer said, ”along with this apology, I pledge to continue to fight injustice for my remaining time as mayor, and all my breaths thereafter."
At a Juneteenth luncheon organized by the Metro Human Relations Commission, Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer apologized to Black residents for the city’s role in upholding and instituting racist systems.
“I cannot erase all the injustices from the first slave ships to today,” Fischer told the audience last Thursday at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “But what I can do is offer a sincere apology from me as a person and, more importantly, on behalf of the institution of the city government of Louisville.”
Following Fischer’s remarks, the Rev. Corrie Shull — a member of the Jefferson County Public Schools Board — informed the audience that it had witnessed a moment in history, referring to the mayor’s apology. “Thank you, sir,” Shull said to Fischer. “We salute you for taking that stand today.”
Fischer has drawn criticism for his handling of the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March of 2020. Taylor’s death, as well as that of George Floyd in May of 2020, kicked off a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence across the nation. During Thursday’s event, he referred to Taylor’s “tragic death” as one example of racial injustice. He added that in the coming weeks, Louisville Metro Police Department chief Erika Shields “will have more to say on the history of institutional abuse of Black Americans by police.”
“For now, along with this apology, I pledge to continue to fight injustice for my remaining time as mayor and all my breaths thereafter.”
Fischer, who is in his third and last term as mayor, added that it is important to own up to past wrongs to get beyond them. “Those that represent institutions may be hesitant to acknowledge that harm, even if they were not present at the time of the offenses,” he said. “But the stain of the historic harm remains, and acknowledging the stain is absolutely necessary to move forward.”
Last month, Fischer publicly apologized to members of “The Black Six,” a group of Black business owners and residents who were accused of planning to destroy buildings in the city’s West End in 1968. “Until we acknowledge the harm that’s happened in the past, it’s hard to move on,” Fischer said before a May panel that included two members of the group. “I wasn’t there then, but I’m here now. I represent an institution. So I apologize.”
Fischer also cited other racial injustices, including the sale of enslaved people, urban renewal and trauma against Black residents who fight for equal rights.
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