A drink with a message

Louisville Water teams up with Louisville Urban League to keep citizens hydrated

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream…” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

In May 2020, Louisville and communities across the U.S. forever changed. Not only were residents facing an unprecedented global pandemic that transformed the way we all do business, how we enjoy free time, and how we protect our family, we also saw the explosion of emotions in response to continued inequities in our universal systems.

Like many neighbors, our downtown building suffered damage during a period of unrest. While there were short-term maintenance issues to fix, Louisville Water immediately acknowledged our duty to examine the larger, more intangible problems.

Employees from all levels gathered together to have ‘courageous conversations’ and learn from one another on how we might improve and create sustainable change. We also called our partners to help us understand what we might do to get involved with the larger movement.

Luckily for us, our friends at the Louisville Urban League had an idea that gave us a perfect opportunity to get involved. Access to clean, safe water is important for all Louisvillians. Louisville Urban League, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism and its adverse impacts on our community, is also focused on job training and education. Its downtown office which is a hub for these key services had old and outdated drinking water fountains.

Louisville Water has replaced the fountains with bottle filling stations so   those who use the space can have access to hands-free water bottle fill stations and fountains. In addition, we designed the hydration stations to have inspirational quotes from important Black leaders (like the one above). The addition at the downtown office is just the first step in a hydration partnership. Louisville Water will also add branded bottle filling station at the League’s Sports and Learning Complex that opens in a few months.

Louisville Water’s approach to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion is multi-faceted. It includes a range of activities that includes everything from internal trainings, to leveraging art for messages of hope, to collaboration with community partners. Our goal is to not check one box and move on. Instead we hope to identify many ways to demonstrate that there is no place for racism, hate, or discrimination in our community, and we’re an ally in that force for change.