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Minority representation on the rise in 'most diverse city in Northern Kentucky'

Covington
Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 18:02:06-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Covington is considered the most diverse city in Northern Kentucky and now, representation in local political positions is finally beginning to reflect that.

Ron Washington, vice mayor of Covington said he remembers when "the city was separated by Madison Avenue, east and west."

The eastern side of the city, he said, was predominantly populated by African Americans.

Michelle Williams, Covington City commissioner, remembers it well too.

"Everyone would say, yeah, you don't belong on the other side of the railroad tracks," she said. "That was for the other side."

Fast forward to now and Washington and Williams both serve on the city's Board of Commissioners. Washington is in his first term; Williams is in her fourth.

It's the first time in the city's history two African Americans are serving on an elected board at the same time.

"I had to get involved to make change happen," said Williams.

Although the board is small, the representation they provide for a diverse community is important.

"The more diverse a community, the more welcoming the community is, the stronger the workforce is and the more appealing it is to the workforce community," said Joe Meyer, mayor of Covington.

With diversity in elected positions, Meyer said he hopes to see continued diversity trickle down.

Washington said he hopes this is just the beginning.

"We do need to make some strides in our city hall, in our police and fire department, in our public works department," he said. "We need to be reflective of our diverse population.

In Covington, a city of 40,548 people in 2019, fewer than 15% are Black, but it's still considered more diverse than other cities in the Northern Kentucky area.

"I believe that Covington is growing in a positive way," said Williams. "They can see that we are making a difference and we are all growing together."