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Ashland community posthumously dedicates ‘unity center’ to local woman

Good News with 13

ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — It’s no secret many communities have had to scale back openings and celebrations due to the pandemic, but one community in Ashland is going forward in honoring one extraordinary woman’s legacy in a big way.

“There are really no words to describe, the fierceness packed into this little woman.” 

Mylinda Jones, daughter of Carol Jackson

A complex in east Ashland was built in tribute to one woman—Carol Jackson—and her dedication to her community.

A portrait of Carol Jackson created by a local artist on the likeness of her photograph.

Carol Jackson passed away in March of 2018, but her contributions to the community live on. Jackson was an east Ashland resident who dedicated her life to fighting discriminatory practices in areas such as housing and employment.

According to the City of Ashland, she was the first African-American woman elected to the Ashland Independent Board of Education, which she went on to chair. Jackson also received an appointment to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Carol Jackson was the president of the Boyd-Greenup County NAACP and led the Ashland Human Rights Commission. There, she created safe spaces for members of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance at Boyd County High School. She was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2012.

“I would love for this facility and the grand opening today to be a cornerstone and a building block for this neighborhood.” 

DJ Rymer, project manager, Carol Jackson Unity Center

To those who knew her, Carol Jackson was a pillar of this community.

“She was the voice for people who felt like they didn’t have a voice.” 

Mylinda Jones, daughter of Carol Jackson

Now the Carol Jackson Unity Center is officially open to the people who neighbors say need it most.

The family of Carol Jackson assist in the ribbon cutting, officially opening the Carol Jackson Unity Center.

“Well, all you hear about this neighborhood is ‘high crime.’ Things going on that shouldn’t be. And I think this is going to let the kids feel free, if there’s something happening there’s a source they can go to.”

Gwen Masterson, resident of Ashland

It includes a state-of-the-art playground, as well as spaces for folks to take part in self-improvement classes and access to city police to discuss local issues.

Not only will this center serve as a meeting point for the area, it will honor the memory of the woman who worked tirelessly for the community she loved.

Jackson’s family says they hope her example and legacy will carry on through this center.

“I hope to see that this gets so overwhelmed with opportunities for people, that they have to make it into a bigger place in a bigger space so that they can branch out into not just Ashland’s community, a tri-state facility.” 

Mylinda Jones, daughter of Carol Jackson

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