Sadiqa Reynolds is stepping down as head of the Louisville Urban League

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Sadiqa Reynolds is stepping down as president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League after nearly seven years at its helm.

She will be taking a position as CEO of an organization based in New York City, according to a press release issued by the league on Tuesday.

“There is no replacing a Sadiqa Reynolds. She is a 1 of 1,” said Lorri Lee, board chair. “Her impact on Louisville, across Kentucky, and on the Urban League Movement, nationally, is tremendous. But it is the durability of what she has built that is most important.

"The Louisville Urban League is now a transformational organization with a staff second to none and operational infrastructure built to sustain that transformation for generations to come.”

Reynolds will be staying in Louisville and will continue to serve the league in an advisory capacity.

Reynolds is the first woman to be president of the 101-year-old league, which helps African Americans and "those at the margins" attain equality and stability. According to the league, accomplishments during her tenure include:

  • Creating the Louisville Urban Sports & Learning Campus, which includes a $53 million indoor and outdoor track and field facility and learning campus, on what had been a vacant and contaminated lot.

  • Helping to frame the "Path Forward" document that outlines changes and solutions to systemic problems and racial disparities in Louisville.

  • Placing 2,237 people in jobs, representing nearly $54 million in new wages.

  • Launching a Center for Entrepreneurship for Black businesses.

  • Serving 2,154 people through the Reily Reentry Project, an expungement program. Those who received help saved $1.3 million in legal fees in the process.

  • Helping 3,725 students with out-of-school programs, and worked with graduating seniors to earn more than $1 million in scholarships.

  • Counseling 394 families as they purchased their first homes.

Reynolds also led events during the 2020 racial justice rallies in Louisville following the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was slain during a raid on her apartment. The league provided funding money and other support for the protesters.

"She led with her heart, supported by the rarest of combinations of intellect, strategy,

depth of knowledge, moving oratory style, and ability to identify and build the most powerful and comprehensive team," the league said.

Phone calls, texts and emails to the Louisville Urban League seeking comment from Reynolds were not immediately returned last week.

But Reynolds was on hand at the Mayor's office to announce the launching of the Louisville Empowerment Financial Empowerment Center, on Monday. She declined to comment on what her future endeavors entail but said the organization she will be employed by in the fall is based out of "Manhattan."

While present, Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher, detailed his longstanding positive and professional relationship with Reynolds. He often referred to her as judge as well as being a "fearless leader."

"The judge and I met each other some 13 years ago when we were campaigning together for our respective offices," Fisher said. "I asked her if she would join us as my founding chief for community building. When the Urban League position became open, we were asked if there is anybody that we thought could be a good fit for that position? ... We said she [Reynolds] would be fantastic and I think she's ended up being that way.

When you think about what they've been able to achieve, from housing to workforce to the Riley re-entry program, they have been extraordinarily successful. Those programs have been able to help the city in such a positive way."

For more information, go to lul.org.

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Culture and diversity reporter Jason Gonzalez can be reached at jgonzalez1@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Sadiqa Reynolds leaving Louisville Urban League