Isabel with Benni

Isabel Taylor: “My background is in international business law. I moved to KY in 2004 and am startled to realize I’ve been Lexington Fayette Urban City Government’s (LFUCG’s) Multicultural Affairs Coordinator for 15 years. I currently head Global Lex under the Mayor’s Office. I was privileged to work with CAO Sally Hamilton and former Comm. Beth Mills to open Global Lex in 2015, and in 2016 helped create the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission. The missions of both the Global Lex center and the International Commission is to support the city and its residents, individually and collectively, to thrive in today’s global environment through the deliberate encouragement of civic engagement, mutual understanding, and strong international economic and artistic diversity. Opening the international center was a collaborative effort of dozens of community members from all walks of life and many cultures. We focused on providing the most pressing requests for assistance from the international non-English speaking population and started programming multilingual driver’s education in nine languages, three of which are currently on YouTube. We organized financial literacy, citizenship and other classes, as well as offered a location for university students to intern and gain multicultural experience. We provided a place for community partners like Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the Human Trafficking Task Force, the Migrant Network Coalition and others to meet, to do multilingual outreach and service.

The International Commission was established to create an advisory group of international community leaders, to give them an opportunity to meet with LFUCG’s senior administration, and ultimately to inform and assist LFUCG to better protect and enhance the quality of life of Lexington’s international citizens and residents. This has helped to enhance communication, community services, amity, and knowledge related to today’s global environment. My own work generally involves being a community liaison on multicultural and international affairs. I provide cross-cultural communication training; participate on task forces, boards, and advisory councils involving education, health, global diversity and inclusion, trade, refugee assistance, human trafficking, and race relations. Charged with assessing the service needs of foreign-born residents, I work to assist Title VI compliance on national origin discrimination, monitor other state and national legislation pertaining to the international sectors, and support LFUCG’s Emergency Management training and response, which is so critically important in today’s pandemic world. Together with the Mayor’s Office, with community translators, with Dr. Rania Belmadani’s and Yolanda Pinilla’s great help, we relay critical multilingual information on health and economic assistance to those who are not yet English proficient. I am a native Spanish, fair French and limited Russian speaker. I live at West Wind Farm, and help manage the family’s small horse farm with my husband Peter and two of our three daughters.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.