About Us

EmpowerWest is a coalition of Louisville area pastors and churches seeking to unleash the educational, economic, and spiritual power of West Louisville residents so that they might maximize their God-given potential and capacity.

Our Mission

Empower West will

Lift a prophetic voice that advocates with and amplifies the voices of those in West Louisville in places of power.


Based on our shared Christian orientation, EmpowerWest will stand with those most easily ignored in business dealings because they have neither voice nor place at the bargaining table, and yet their lives are most affected by potential business decisions.


A coalition of Louisville area pastors and churches, committed to insuring that development and the infusion of capital into West Louisville will be primarily for the empowerment and sustainability of West Louisville’s current residents and secondarily for the profit-making of investors.

Our Partners

The work of EmpowerWest is supported by a variety of community partners. See the list of sponsoring organizations.

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2020 City Wide Book Read Focuses on Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

Dr. Mehrsa Bandararan is a professor of law at the University of California Irvine. Her acclaimed book The Color of Money pursues the persistence of the racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks. Studying these institutions over time, Dr. Baradaran challenges the myth that black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy. Instead, housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies created an inescapable, but hard to detect, economic trap for black communities and their banks.

A conversation with the author will be held February 20 at 7:00 pm at Crescent Hill Baptist Church 2800 Frankfort Ave Louisville, KY 40206. Admission: Free

Dr. Hinrichs to Speak on Power of Social Media for Social Justice

The next West Louisville Forum continues on Wednesday November 4th at 12:00pm featuring Dr Marguerite Hinrichs. Dr Hinrichs will speak on: "Maximixing the Movement: Social Media , The New Bullhorn for Social Justice". Join us at 1508 W Kentucky Street 40210. Registration Free. Lunch purchases will be available at Mattie's Kitchen

West Louisville Forum Features Dr. George Wright

The next West Louisville Forum continues on Wednesday November 6th at 12:00pm featuring Dr George Wright. Dr Wright will be speaking on: "My Life, My Scholarship: Along the Racial Divide". Join us at 1508 W Kentucky Street 40210. Registration Free. Lunch purchases will be available at Mattie's Kitchen

Episcopal News Service: $1.7 million for slavery reparations fund puts Virginia Theological Seminary at forefront of debate

By David Paulsen Posted Sep 6, 2019. [Episcopal News Service] Virginia Theological Seminary took what appears to be an unprecedented step this week by announcing that it had set aside $1.7 million for a slavery reparations fund – something considered but not yet enacted by other institutions of higher education that historically benefited from slave labor.

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400th Year Commemoration Ceremony of Slavery in America

Watch the replay as the interfaith community and justice seekers across the nation to participate in a commemoration ceremony… for a time of reflection on where we’ve come from, where we are, and the new trajectory for the next 400 years.

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WHAS 11 - America's dark history: Louisville commemorates 400 years since birth of slavery

The Louisville community commemorated the first enslaved Africans who were brought to North American colonies 400 years ago this month.

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Baptist World News: Angela Project ceremony aims to repair, not repeat, America’s history of racism

Repairing America’s racial divide will require more than feeling remorse for sins in the past, the president of a historically black college in Louisville, Kentucky, told an audience of mixed races from various faith traditions gathered to reflect on the 400th anniversary of slavery in the United States.

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The Angela Project Presents the 400th Year Commemoration Ceremony 1619-2019: Commemorating 400 Years of Slavery in America

Slavery is a topic that usually divides, But World, National, State & Local faith leaders are uniting across racial lines to Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Slavery in America, led by Simmons College Of KY, KY’s oldest HBCU..

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A Call For Repentance and Repair to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

We, the undersigned Louisville area Christian ministers, call for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to make an act of repentance and repair to descendants of American slavery for its leading role in crafting a moral and biblical defense of slavery; for its support of the Confederacy; for perpetuating the Lost Cause mentality; and for defending Jim Crow policies.

We call the Seminary to transfer a meaningful portion of its financial wealth to a black-led educational institution which is outside the Seminary’s sphere of influence.

Response to Request from EmpowerWest from Dr. Albert Mohler
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The 2019 Empower West Louisville City Wide Book Club

Dr. Erica Dunbar, author of Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge will be in Louisville on February 7. From the publisher: A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful story about a daring woman of “extraordinary grit” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the President grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

“A crisp and compulsively readable feat of research and storytelling” (USA TODAY), historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked everything to gain freedom from the famous founding father.

JCPS and Simmons College partner to develop more minority teachers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools and Simmons College of Kentucky are partnering in order to build more minority teachers and keep them in the county. JCPS recently passed a resolution agreeing to the partnership. Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the district has struggled over the years to hire and retain African-American teachers, so this partnership is part of the district’s Racial Equity Plan.

LMPD launches investigation into traffic stop of Rev. Kevin Cosby

WRDB in Louisville, KY reports that Louisville Metro Police Department has opened an investigation into a traffic stop involving the president of Simmons College.

Coalition of Ministry Organizations and Community Leaders Announce 'Driving While Black' Press Conference

A press conference organized by ministers and community leaders has been announced for Tuesday September 18 at 6:00pm at 22nd and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville, KY. The conference is announced in response to outrage that Rev. Kevin and Ms. Barnetta Cosby were stopped by and harassed by local police this past Saturday evening. The Cosbys, of St. Stephen Church and Simmons College, were driving home when stopped by police. Unfortunately, they were “driving while black.”

CJ: Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for 'defiance, determination' in Louisville sermon

Rev Jesse Jackson's keynote sermon for the Angela Project Conference 2018 featured in news media coverage by the The Courier-Journal newspaper Louisville, Kentucky.

Angela Project Conference Under Way

The Angela Project Conference 2018 begin today in Louisville, KY. Click below for registration or schedule information.

Angela Project Conference Releases 2018 Schedule

The schedule for the Angela Project Conference 2018 is now available. The two day conference, which will be held in Louisville begins on Friday September 14. This event features breakout speakers and panel discussions as well as a keynote and worship with Rev. Jesse Jackson. Click the buttons below to register for the conference sessions (admission free) or to download a printer-friendly version of the schedule.

Angela Project Conference Now Free

Organizers of the Angela Project conference have now reduced the registration fee to $0 for all participants. Dinner purchase is available. Simmons College of Kentucky in Conjunction with the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., The Progressive National Convention, Inc. and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship presents "The Angela Project." The Illusion of Inclusion: 50 Years of Downward Mobility in Black America.

The Angela Project is a 3-Year Movement Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Black Enslavement in America. Join us as we set a new trajectory for the next 400 years!

The Speakers: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dedrick Assante-Muhammad, Lezli Baskerville, Yvette Carnell, Rev. Joe Phelps & Antonio Moore with Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, Conference Convener.

West Louisville Forum featuring Sadiqua Reynolds, CEO of the Louisville Urban League.

Join us Wed Sept 5, 12:00 pm as the West Louisville Forum continues to explore solutions for urban America. Our guest is Louisville Urban League President/CEO, Sadiqa Reynolds interviewed by the esteemed columnist Betty Baye. @sadiquaLUL @betty_baye @KWCosby #CAN'TmissEvent #ssclive

What to Expect at the Angela Conference

In this short recap of the 2017 Angela Project Conference, Baptists from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., and the Progressive National Baptist Convention convened in Louisville, Ky., for a gather for this inaugural event focused on racial justice and education hosted by Simmons College of Kentucky @ the Annual Session of the NBCA, Intl. Inc.

Five Compelling Reasons to Attend the Angela Project Conference 2018

1. 50 years after the death of MLK in 1968, from housing to home ownership, to unemployment, to wealth, to mass incarceration, Black America has not progressed, indeed has regressed.

2. The wealth gap is widening between White America and Black America. Black America is denied access to the American Dream.

3. Very soon, Black America will have zero wealth.

4. We need solutions to prevent Black America from becoming a permanent underclass.

5. Re-designation as “Descendants of Slaves” will move all of America toward remedies for black America.

Simmons College Dedicates New Student Housing

On Saturday, August 18, 2018, Simmons College was able to sponsor the dedication of two new buildings in the California Community of Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us, the dedication of The "Reverend Charles Elliott Hall" and The "Reverend Johnnie Clark Hall."

Angela Project 2018: The Illusion of Inclusion

Simmons College of Kentucky in Conjunction with the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., The Progressive National Convention, Inc. and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship presents "The Angela Project." The Illusion of Inclusion: 50 Years of Downward Mobility in Black America.

The Angela Project is a 3-Year Movement Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Black Enslavement in America. Join us as we set a new trajectory for the next 400 years!

The Speakers: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dedrick Assante-Muhammad, Lezli Baskerville, Yvette Carnell, Rev. Joe Phelps & Antonio Moore with Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, Conference Convener. Conference Rate: Both Days $50 // $20 One Day Only.

NAACP Announces Voter Registration Campaign

Mr. Raoul Cunningham, President, Louisville Branch of the NAACP led the press conference to announce a kick off for a Voter Registration Campaign and has secured partnerships with several community service organizations including Simmons College of Kentucky, EmpowerWest & St. Stephen Church to mobilize voter registration for the upcoming elections.

West Louisville Forum feat Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore

Simmons College of Kentucky presents the June edition of the West Louisville Forum, Solutions for Urban America. Join us June 6th as we welcome special guest speakers Social Analyst & Founder of BreakingBrown.com Yvette Carnell and Social Analyst & Emmy Nominated Produce Antonio Moore. Our topic is 10 myths about closing the racial gap.

Simmons Fundraiser Celebrates the Black Jockeys of the Kentucky Derby

Simmons College of Kentucky Presents A Race to Greatness: A Celebration of the Black Jockeys of the Kentucky Derby Featuring Speaker John Asher, Historian, Churchill Downs, Performance by: Kentucky Black Repertory Theatre & Simmons College of Kentucky Marching Band.

Simmons College Celebrates MLK50 Anniversary Commemoration: A Day of Remembrance

Simmons College of Kentucky is hosting a Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 50th Anniversary Commemoration: A Day of remembrance April 4, 2018. The event will feature a worship service with special guest speaker Dr. M. Christopher Brown, II, President Kentucky State University. Dr. Brown will be speaking at St. Stephen Church Worship Center. Churches are invited to participate by ringing their bells 39 times at 6:00pm marking the approximate time Dr. King was assassinated. Bells are to be rung again at 7:05 pm marking the time when he was pronounced dead. If no bells are available, a moment of silence may be observed. Individuals may also honk car horns at the above times.

EmpowerWest: Mayor Fischer, here's how Louisville can begin to repair the damage of racism

EmpowerWest clergy coalition calls on Mayor Greg Fischer to help with racial restoration and reconciliation through a new commission.

West Louisville Forum Examines Impact of Black Enslavement in America Today

Simmons College of Kentucky @SCKY_1879 West Louisville Forum, March 2018. The Guest Speaker was Rochelle Riley, Author, Topic “The Burden: A Look at the Continued Impact of Black Enslavement in America Today!” @KWCosby @ssclive.

Grand Opening Of West Louisville’s Only Black-Owned Florist – Mayor Fischer Attends Ribbon Cutting

The latest West Louisville business to open is Dn Surprise Florist located at 2001 West Broadway Suite 2. Owners Davin Anderson and his mother Sherrell Anderson have over 20 years experience as florists.

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Religious leaders launch initiative at Simmons College promoting racial justice and leadership.

(WDRB) Leaders from some of the largest Christian organizations in the country are in Louisville this week to help launch an initiative honoring a civil rights pioneer.

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Redlining, City Wide Book Read Featured in News

Louisville's history of redlining a central feature in this arcticle by Louisville Public Media. Three EmpowerWest pastors discuss Rothstein's "The Color of Law" and the local impact of redlining.