There is a community where hundreds of refugees have resettled from at least 30 different countries to start a promising new life for their families, bringing pieces of their unique cultures along with them. There is a town so diverse that students from the public schools go home to families speaking over 50 different languages other than English. Every year in that city, thousands of people participate in a month of daily fasting during the Islamic religious holiday Ramadan while thousands more fast for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. In the same community, citizens who have disabilities lobbied for more input in urban planning and development and got a commission dedicated to the task in response. This city has also communicated its commitment to diversity by enacting an ordinance to protect people who may face discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Would you be surprised to learn that if you’re reading this post, then you probably live in this community? I just described Lexington, KY.
My name is Lindsay Mattingly and I am the Multicultural Liaison of the Lexington Public Library. Part of my job as a member of our Outreach Services team is to educate the community-at-large about the diversity that can be found right here in Lexington. And what better way is there to share information with a whole community of people than through the marvel of modern technology that is the blog? I will be posting interviews, videos and writing my own observations about diversity in Lexington. I want to highlight groups, organizations, and individuals whose contributions to the richness of our community are often overlooked. For example, have you read the book Lexington, Kentucky by Gerald L. Smith that chronicles the history of African Americans in our town? Have you ever looked through some of the unique histories stored in the Kentucky Room on the 3rd floor of the Central Library? Lexington has always had a lot more to offer than just basketball and horses! Though we are small, we are a vibrant and diverse community. It’s time to share that with the world.