Community

The Annual Urban City Economic Empowerment Summit and Town Hall Wednesday attracted West Louisville residents and Metro government officials.

The day-long event at the Ray Barker Economic Empowerment Center consisted of panel discussions, breakout sessions and a town hall meeting.

I spoke with some of the participants about the summit’s importance. Listen to the audio in the player above.

Jaylin Stewart spoke with attendees as they looked over her kaleidoscopic portraits. The vivid subjects are painted against an orange background. All are under 23 years of age and died from either homicide or illness.

Jaylin Stewart paintingRoxanne Scott | wfpl.org

A painting of 19-year-old Mariah Wilson by Jaylin Stewart.

“Mariah Wilson was a 19-year-old girl and she was a homicide victim of this year,” Stewart said. “I believe it was in September. And I did her specifically because it just broke my heart. ‘Cause she was so beautiful, so young, you know.”

Entrepreneurship was one of the focuses of the summit. Stewart said she wants to operate as a small business and use the money she earns from selling her art to help her go back to school.

“And I’m here networking trying to meet as many different people as I can,” she said.

summit Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org

A small crowd attends the morning session of the annual Urban City Economic Empowerment Summit and Town Hall in Louisville.

Kathleen Parks is director of the annual summit. She said this and similar events are critical in shaping the area’s future.

“We’ve had over 60 years of disinvestment, disenfranchisement economically in West Louisville,” she said. “It’s gone on too long.”

Sessions at the free, day-long summit include starting your own small business enterprise; banking and financial management 101; and temporary job opportunities leading to full-time employment.

The town hall is scheduled to take place Wednesday evening. The topic is “Seeking Solutions: How do we empower and create an economically viable West Louisville?”

There’s more information here.