Commission on Human Rights
HUD Assistant Secretary to Announce Partnership with Kentucky State University at Largest Public Civil Rights Conference in KY history
John Trasviña, assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, will speak Thursday, Oct. 14, at the plenary session of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights 50th Anniversary Civil and Human Rights Conference. The session, titled Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in Kentucky, will include Trasviña’s launching of a HUD Fair Housing Innovative Education Program at the Kentucky State University of Frankfort, Ky.
The program is called The National Fair Housing Collegiate Partnership and is a practical concept designed to promote fair housing and educate students about their rights under the U.S. Fair Housing Act. This law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, disability, sex, national origin and families with children. The HUD partnership program at Kentucky State University will also provide information for students who have interests in pursuing civil rights related careers. “The program has produced globally prepared students who like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dream of fairness and equality,” HUD officials said.
During the conference session, Dr. Mary Evans Sias, president of Kentucky State University, will join the assistant secretary to talk about the new partnership. The Kentucky State University Concert Choir will perform. Beverly Watts, a former executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, will open the session with greetings. She is now executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
President Obama appointed Trasviña for the assistant secretary job in 2009. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity where Trasviña works administers and enforces federal laws and establishes policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.
Before joining the Obama Administration, the assistant secretary served as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. There he led the law firm for the Latino community by advancing litigation and public policy in the areas of civil rights, immigration, education and related issues. President Clinton appointed him previously as special counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices.
The Kentucky Human Rights Commission conference is being held in conjunction with Gov. Steve Beshear’s Office of Minority Empowerment from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15 at the Louisville International Convention Center in downtown Louisville, Ky. The conference is the largest public civil rights conference in Kentucky history. After the plenary session with Trasviña, the day’s activities will include sessions such as a meeting of the Council on Postsecondary Education Committee on Equal Opportunities, presentations on various civil and human rights-related positions by various Kentucky advocacy groups, key components in lobbying for fairness, school desegregation and its correlation to housing segregation, and more.
The cost of the conference is $25 a day to cover the cost of luncheons. To register for one or all three days of the conference, visit the commission website at www.kchr.ky.gov to register or view the conference schedule and its session descriptions. For more information, call commission official Mary Ann Taylor at 502-595-4024 or 1-800-292-5566.
Sponsors of the conference include General Electric, Humana, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky Housing Corporation, Metropolitan Sewer District, PNC Bank, Publisher's Press, UPS, YUM! Brands, Bellarmine University, and the University of Kentucky.