Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today the formation of the Minority Action Committee that will be responsible for establishing Kentucky as a state which encourages and welcomes minorities to earn their living, raise their families, and pursue their dreams.
In addition, the Governor signed an executive order appointing a 13-member blue ribbon panel of distinguished citizens which will evaluate the Kentucky Human Rights Commission. Governor Fletcher said, “I am confident the Minority Action Committee and the blue ribbon panel will help us in our quest to provide better opportunities for all minorities and all Kentuckians.”
Governor Fletcher emphasized both the Minority Action Committee and the blue ribbon panel are designed to protect and promote the interests of minorities throughout the Commonwealth.
The Minority Action Committee will be chaired by Tierra Kavanaugh Turner, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment. The members will include many of the top-ranking officials in Governor Fletcher’s administration:
Erwin Roberts, Secretary of the Personnel Cabinet
Derrick Ramsey, Deputy Secretary of Commerce
Mike Alexander, Governor’s Deputy General Counsel
Bob Ramsey, Special Assistant to the Adjutant General in Military Affairs
Delanor Manson, Deputy Secretary, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Penny Armstrong, Executive Director, Office of Employment Training
Jerry Blanton, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Parks
“This is the first time a governor has created a committee with the goal to make Kentucky a better place for minorities to live, work, and raise families,” said Tierra Kavanaugh Turner. “I commend Governor Fletcher for his vision and I ask for the continued support of African American communities across the state as we work toward a brighter future.”
The 13 member blue ribbon panel that will evaluate the Human Rights Commission includes many well-known minority leaders:
Bill Cofield, President, KY Conference of NAACP Branches
Rev. Russell Awkard, Vice Moderator, General Association of Baptists in KY
Sharon Fields, Executive Director, KY Disabilities Coalition
Porter G. Peeples, President/CEO, Urban League of Lexington/Fayette County
Rev. David Sanchez, Associate Pastor, Church of the Holy Spirit, first Hispanic minister of the Louisville Diocese
Pat Freibert, Chair, KY Commission on Women
Rev. Raynarldo Henderson, Pastor, Washington St. Baptist Church
Dr. Doris Wilkinson, Director, Project on the African American Heritage, first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky
Senator Gerald Neal, State Senator, 33rd District
Howard Mann, Attorney, former chairman, KY Commission on Human Rights
Marcia Milby Ridings, Attorney, former president, KY Bar Association
David Alan Friedman, former general counsel for the ALCU of KY
Hon. Larry Smith, Administrative Law Judge
Rev. Raynarldo Henderson voiced his commitment to the blue ribbon panel. “I am honored to serve, and I will use my time, energy and resources to do the best job possible to improve life for all Kentuckians,” said Rev. Henderson.
David Alan Friedman added, “I applaud Governor Fletcher for looking out for the rights of minorities and I look forward to working with him to fulfill that vision.”
Judge Smith also commended the governor, saying, “We are looking forward to getting to work on this very important cause.”
One of the Minority Action Committee’s primary responsibilities will be to promote Kentucky as a destination for minority tourism. Governor Fletcher said that plans are under way to establish a Civil War trail in Kentucky; to restore and reopen Cherokee Park in western Kentucky, which was the nation’s third blacks-only state park when it was opened in 1951; and to establish and expand educational programs for inner-city youths, such as the archery program that the Department of Fish and Wildlife currently is operating in two Louisville schools and 14 community centers.
“We must make certain that America knows that Kentucky is progressive in every way,” Governor Fletcher said. “Our hearts, minds, and arms are open to embrace good people regardless of race, religion, gender, or political beliefs.”
Both the Minority Action Committee and the blue-ribbon panel will go to work immediately.