New coalition of churches aims to empower west Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New coalition of churches aims to empower west Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Empowering West Louisville from the inside out, that’s the goal of a new coalition of Louisville churches.

It started at Simmons, an historically black college, and has spread to more than a half dozen mostly white churches.

There's a lot to like in West Louisville, beautiful homes, parks and parkways, and hard-working people.

But there are also vacant houses, abandoned factories, unemployment, and pockets of crime.

“What is needed is for the people in West Louisville to be empowered,” said Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky.

That's why Cosby says the school has formed a new coalition of urban and suburban, black and white churches to empower West Louisville.

It starts, Cosby says with changing the definition of success.

“It has often been defined as getting a good education, getting a good job, and leaving west Louisville. We're defining success as getting a good education, becoming an employer or getting good job, but staying in west Louisville,” he said.

The churches say this is not about charity. It is about encouraging education and entrepreneurship, patronizing west Louisville businesses and beginning a movement to live in the west end.

“What we have here is a unique model of helping West Louisville to build from inside out, and coming alongside them as partners to really build something that will endure for decades rather than just trying to do a quick fix,” said Chris Caldwell, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church.

But Cosby admits that means dealing with crime and the perception that West Louisville is a dangerous place to live and work.

“And I have appealed to the church community to be sympathetic to what are some of the root causes of the crime, and instead of cursing the darkness, let's light a candle,” he said.

These pastors say they're confident their churches will buy-in for the long haul.

“It is a long term effort. West Louisville didn't get in the situation it's in overnight, and it's not going to get out of it overnight. But I think we can make a real difference,” said Caldwell.

The effort kicks off with an Empower West Louisville Summit Wednesday night at St. Stephen Baptist Church, including a chance for west end business to connect with east end customers.

Copyright 2015 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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