The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month today by presenting the 7th Annual Kentucky Hispanic, Immigrant and Refugee Networking Summit.
The day-long free event was held at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm in Frankfort, Ky. Over 100 people attended.
Participating were federal, state, and local government representatives who work with immigrant people in Kentucky. Also present were representatives of immigrant centers, private and non-profit groups, colleges, universities, and Hispanic and other immigrant members of the public. Gov. Steve Beshear sent Executive Director Delquan Dorsey of the Governor's Minority Empowerment Office to read the Governor's proclamation celebrating Hispanics in Kentucky and the National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is September 15 through October 15.
Several interesting presentations were made by professionals who described their services to Kentucky's immigrant and refugee members. There were panel discussions titled, "Immigrant and Refugee Agencies," "Community Outreach Organizations," "Federal Government Agencies," "Hispanic Media Outlets in Kentucky," "State Government Agencies & Institutions," and "Counties and City International Offices & Human Rights Commissions."
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John J. Johnson was the keynote speaker at today's conference. He said:
“Many reports throughout the nation reveal that immigration policies are causing a disturbing pattern of abuses and human rights violations that threaten the livelihood and safety of entire families, workers and communities.
“We fear that in too many instances immigrant and refugee rights are being ignored and individuals are abused in the areas of employment and in access to needed services, and they are often steered into racially segregated housing.
“We must work diligently to ensure that our sisters and brothers who are recent immigrants to our state and perhaps representing our state’s most vulnerable segment are not pushed into a permanent underclass and circumstances that lead to poverty and poor health.
“All of us who believe in equality in this state must join forces to ensure that civil rights and constitutional protections are not trampled upon by those who would abuse the human rights of any of our state’s population.”
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is the state authority that enforces the laws that make discrimination illegal. For more information or for help with discrimination, contact the commission at 1.800.292.5566.