Concerned residents say discrimination 'affects all of us'


by Renee Murphy

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 24 at 7:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A big meeting was held Thursday about discrimination allegations at 4th Street Live.

The group that owns the entertainment venue met with concerned groups. One group is calling on Louisville’s Caucasian residents to stand up and speak out about the claims of racial discrimination.

“I think it’s really important for those of us who are white to step up and say we want a city that welcomes everybody,” Carla Wallace said.

Wallace started the new group in Louisville called SURJ, which stands for Stand Up For Racial Justice.

Her group’s goal is to get more white citizens involved in racial issues like the complaints at 4th Street Live.

“For those of us who are white whether its letting the mayor know, whether its letting the Cordish company know or whether it’s getting involved in Louisville SURJ to get involved,” Wallace said. “I think there are a lot of white people who think that issues of race or racial injustice are not our issue.”

Other SURJ members feel the same.

“If anyone is being discriminated against in Louisville it affects all of us,” said Kari Thatcher, SURJ member.

Michael Aldridge, the executive director of the ACLU, says Cordish has been responsive to their concerns and agrees that more people need to get involved.

“We, as white allies, we should say this is not just a problem for people of color these are my friends and these are my relationships and what harms them harms me as well,” Aldridge said.

The meeting Thursday with the Cordish Group was a private, closed door meeting but they continue to work with residents.

Since the claims of discrimination resurfaced last year the company has put new signs at the entrances about their dress code and have posted dress code rules on their website.

There were complaints that the dress code was being used as a way of keeping African American’s out of their businesses.  Another meeting with Cordish and the concerned groups is set to take place in Feb.