The Cordish Company Should Address Racial Discrimination Claims Immediately

Affiliate: ACLU of Kentucky
March 14, 2013 3:06 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Kentucky
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Dress code enforcement appears to be a tool to racially profile and discriminate.

January 21, 2013

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

LOUISVILLE, KY – A coalition of social justice organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, Connected Voices, Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Fairness Campaign say now is the time for The Cordish Company to take steps to address continued claims of racial discrimination in the enforcement of the dress code at Fourth Street Live!. ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge said, “If a business has a dress code there needs to be accountability to make sure that it is enforced for all patrons, otherwise it can become a tool for racial profiling and discrimination.”

For years claims of racial discrimination have surrounded Louisville’s Fourth Street Live! In August 2012, Connected Voices held a forum where a group of nearly 200 Louisvillians gathered to share their stories of unequal treatment based on race. Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice member Carla Wallace attended and said, “Hearing the testimony by one African American person after another, for over two hours, clearly said to me that we have a problem with Cordish.”

Representatives from The Cordish Company were at that meeting, and have also met with concerned social justice groups about the issue. While company officials have said they will make changes to their policies, they have not publicly released any information about those changes or given a timeline for implementation. Another meeting with Cordish Company representatives is scheduled for later this week. Connected Voices member Theresa Boyd said, “Behind closed doors Cordish showed us a presentation about changes they say they are making. If those new policies are now in place, we haven’t been told about it, and more importantly the community hasn’t been told about it.” Boyd added, “My tax dollars, and everyone else’s in the community go toward supporting Fourth Street Live!, we deserve better.”

On this day reserved for honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of this nation’s greatest civil rights leaders, it was important for the groups working on this issue to update the community. Aldridge said, “We want residents who stepped forward to share stories of unacceptable treatment to know we are still working, and will continue to work until we get this resolved.”

Wallace added, “As a community, it must matter to all of us, when any particular group of people feels they are experiencing discrimination from one of Louisville’s businesses. Cordish needs to reflect the values of inclusivity and equity. That is good business and necessary to be part of a Louisville that works for all of us.”

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