Lexington vigil encourages unity after Virginia tragedy

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Thousands of people gathered at the courthouse plaza Monday in downtown Lexington, standing in solidarity with those who lost their lives in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

Several state and local leaders spoke at the vigil, all of them calling for unity.

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People in Lexington are working towards a goal of togetherness after violence from racial tension in Virginia.

“Bigotry and prejudice and discrimination anywhere is a threat to liberty and justice and freedom everywhere,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

That justice and freedom that Mayor Gray is talking about is what people want for everyone, saying all lives matter.

They want to see change happen. That’s why they are fighting against white supremacy. They are hoping for a world where all places are safe spaces for all people.

“White supremacists think they will silence us, and I’m here to say they will not silence me,” said Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes went on to say that the first step to reaching their goal is to vote people who share that goal into office in 2018.

“They brought torches in Charlottesville, we bring registration cards,” said Grimes. “That’s what democracy is all about.”

Until election time, speakers urged people to spread their message.

People also congratulated Mayor Gray at the vigil for his decision to move the Confederate statues from downtown Lexington. They say it is the perfect beginning to creating those safe spaces they want for everyone.

Several people at the vigil said they plan to be at the Urban County Council work session Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in the council chambers of the Government Center.   Mayor Gray is expected to make his proposal the the council then to move the statues to Veterans Park.  That proposal will ultimately need the approval of the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission before going into effect.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.