Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Welcomes New Commissioners.

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 12, 2007  
Contact Information:  Victoria Dempsey, Communications Director, 502.641.0760  

LOUISVILLE – Governor Ernie Fletcher appointed by executive order 2007-749 new members to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners this week, all of whom will replace outgoing commissioners whose terms have expired.

Commission Executive Director John Johnson who only joined the commission last week welcomes the new commissioners.

“We look forward to meeting our new commissioners and to continuing the important work of ruling on complaints of discrimination for the people of Kentucky,” Mr. Johnson said.

Bonita Black of Crestwood, Ky., will serve as the new chair. She replaces Rev. Thurmond Coleman Sr. of Louisville as a State-at-Large commissioner. Ms. Black’s term will expire Sept. 12, 2010. She is a partner at Frost Brown Todd in Louisville and a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Rev. Coleman has been appointed to serve on the board again, this time representing the Fourth Supreme Court District in Louisville and replacing Yvonne Denise Wade. Rev. Coleman’s term will expire Sept. 12, 2008.

Betty Dobson of Paducah will represent the First District to replace Anita Simmons of Hopkinsville. Ms. Dobson’s term will expire Sept. 12, 2008. She is listed as the Upper Town Heritage Foundation president and was identified in the Paducah Sun newspaper as “the leader of an effort to renovate and restore the Hotel Metropolitan, a historic hotel built in 1909 for African Americans.  Well-known musicians and traveling performers such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Chick Webb's orchestra, B.B. King, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Ike and Tina Turner were guests of Maggie Steed's Hotel Metropolitan or the neighboring Jefferson Hotel, the only accommodations for African Americans in the area.”

William Turner, Ph.D. of Lexington will serve the State-at-Large and replaces Todd Hollenbach IV of Louisville. Dr. Turner’s term will expire Sept. 12, 2008. He is the former interim president of Kentucky State University and currently serves as the vice president for university initiatives/associate provost for multicultural affairs at the University of Kentucky.

Henry Blythe of Mayfield, will be a State-at-Large commissioner and replaces Deborah Kent of Louisville. Mr. Blythe’s commission will expire Sept. 12, 2008. He has served as the chair of the Mayfield Human Rights Commission.

Robert Peters of Lexington was appointed as a State-at-Large commissioner and replaces Priscilla Johnson of Lexington who is also the outgoing chair of the commission. Mr. Peters’ term expires Sept. 12, 2009. He is currently retired and formerly served as secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet under Governors Jones and Patton.

Alma Randolph of Owensboro will represent the Second District and replaces Richard Brown of Owensboro. Her term expires Sept. 12, 2009. She is a gospel singer and has performed at the Governor’s Mansion.  She has served on the Owensboro Human Relations Commission.

Duane Bonifer of Greensburg will represent the Third District to replace Ann Darragh of Bardstown. Mr. Bonifer’s commission will expire Sept. 12, 2009. He is the director of Public Relations for Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky.

Governor Fletcher reappointed Commissioner Henry Curtis of Frankfort, an attorney in the Kentucky Office of Insurance, to again represent the Fifth District with a term expiring Sept. 12, 2010.

Commissioner Robert Asseo of Florence, a Delta Air Lines Cincinnati field service manager and the commission’s first Latino board member during its 47-year history, will continue to represent the Sixth District until such time as an appointment or re-appointment is made. His term expires this week.

No appointment has yet been made to fill the vacant commission for the Seventh District.

Outgoing Chair Priscilla Johnson said, “On behalf of all the outgoing commissioners, it has been our great honor to serve on the board of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights these last years. We congratulate the new commissioners, and we will continue to support the commission as it does its great work protecting all people in Kentucky from discrimination, and promoting tolerance, mutual respect, and equality.” Ms. Johnson served as chair of the board for eight years.

KCHR is the state government agency that enforces the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and policies of federal civil rights laws.  It initiates, receives, investigates, conciliates and rules upon jurisdictional complaints.  KCHR has jurisdiction in housing, employment, public accommodations, and financial transactions. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status in housing, disability, age (40 or over) in employment, and smoking status in employment. Complaints not dismissed, settled or conciliated go to administrative hearing where commission rulings have the authority of a court of law.