February 23, 2023, Louisville, KY. – Students from Jefferson County Public Schools will be front and center sharing their ideas on ways to solve community-wide issues this Saturday at the third annual Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation JusticeFest. Presenting Sponsors Churchill Downs and Humana are joined this year by new sponsor, Park Community Credit Union. The JusticeFest event showcases projects and collaborative work done by JCPS students from elementary to high school, along with their teachers and coaches. They address a variety of concerns, including homelessness, trash disposal, inclusiveness, and historical content from diverse communities.

“It’s inspiring to see all the work these students are doing to help address issues we face here in our community and in communities around the world,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “Through JusticeFest we are able to offer a platform where they can share their ideas and connect them with community and business leaders, professionals, and advisers to help move their projects forward.”

JusticeFest is part of an immersive learning program called Justice Now at JCPS. Justice Now was launched in January 2021 and challenges students to make Louisville their classroom and Justice their curriculum. The students focus on four key cohorts as part of Justice Now and JusticeFest, which include: Acceptance and Equal Rights for all People; Environmental Justice; Educational Justice; and Community Investment/Disinvestment.

“Community issues impact our youth every day and JusticeFest allows students to dig into those topics and highlight the changes that can be made to fix the problems,” said Dr. John Marshall, chief equity officer for Jefferson County Public Schools. “I’m proud that our students have this opportunity to disrupt the status quo and push for meaningful change in the community.”

On Saturday, 24 different student groups will present their concepts to panelists, including community and business leaders, as well as teachers, advisers, mentors, and other professionals. The panelists have been chosen based on their expertise and will provide the students with mentorship, insights, and ideas to help further their work.

JusticeFest is the inaugural event of the Derby Festival’s Derby Equity and Community Initiative (DECI), which was launched in 2021 to incorporate more equitable programming into the Derby season with the intention of directing economic impact and ensuring that the entire community feels a part of the Derby season and the celebrations that surround it.

Three Louisville-based companies – Churchill Downs, Humana and Park Community Credit Union – support the DECI. Park makes its debut this year as the newest sponsor of the multi-year initiative and will help amplify the DECI’s efforts by serving as the new Financial Literacy Resource, including offering budgeting tools and advice to JusticeFest participants to help move their projects forward.

COVERAGE NOTE: The event will be held at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Pitches will begin around 9:30 a.m. and last until around 3 p.m. on Saturday. This event is not open to the public. Media are invited to attend for news coverage.

JusticeFest is Presented by Churchill Downs, Humana and Park Community Credit Union. Official Audio Video Partner: Prestige AV & Creative Services. The event is produced in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools and is a Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation event.

June 21 - June 21