LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- As Kentucky waits to learn what Governor Matt Bevin has planned to stem the tide of violence in Louisville, one pastor questions whether the Governor has “done his homework as it relates to what's happening in the city.”
Pastor Vincent James of Elim Baptist Church is actively involved with the Louisville Violence Prevention Task Force having gotten involved shortly after a triple-murder that took place in front of a West End church in 2012.
Pastor James said he did not receive a formal invitation or even a phone call from Governor Bevin's office. While he will attend with an open mind, he's concerned that the governor's approach is not looking at the larger picture impacting violence in Louisville.
"I always go in open minded,” insisted Pastor James. “That's why I said I'm not excited about [the meeting]. Let me share with you why I'm not excited. The way the approach that he came, he's coming into our community, that he's coming into our community talking about the violence and specifically he said the West End, which is where we're standing right now. But yet he's not reached out to any West End leaders or pastors. And I've talked with, I can't tell you how many leaders or pastors over the past couple of days that have not been reached out to at all, by anyone. So who is he really meeting with? I just met with a group of African-American pastors and white pastors, a pastor on the East End. Some of them got phone calls and invitations and so I'm trying to figure out in my mind and processing this and who is he really wanting to be there and why is he setting up the meetings this way?”
We asked the Governor's Office for a list of whom they've invited and we were told there was no official invitation list but they had reached out to West End pastors, the Baptist Convention and others.
West End Pastor Jerry Stephenson said he received a call from the Governor and Pastor Stephenson plans to attend.
Governor Bevin put out another social media post today explaining that he'd like as many people to attend as possible with an emphasis on religious and community leaders.
Tuesday the Governor said his plan was “simple” and some may even find it “boring”, but he insists it will be effective and involvement will be volitional.
Pastor James has yet to hear the details but questions whether any plan can succeed if it does not consider issues like gun control, poverty, and community investment.
“I don't know how much he's going to be able to really come up with, but I'm open minded to say, hey, if this thing is good, and it's for the community, and it works, then we need to do this”, said Pastor James. “But I don't think he has something like that available.”
The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Western Middle School in Louisville. There will be no cameras or media allowed, but today the Governor's Communications Director said concerned leaders and victim's family members are welcome.
You can see our full conversation with Pastor Vincent James here.