Commission on Human Rights
Human Rights Commission condemns UK campus hate incident
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John Johnson has made the following statement in response to the effigy of Senator Obama found on the University of Kentucky campus yesterday:
“This was a vile and callous act that demonstrates all too clearly the urgent need for serious dialogue regarding issues of hate and intolerance in our communities. The significance of a noose – a historical symbol of hate and lawlessness – is a blatant attempt to cause intimidation and fear, and it represents the intent to destroy the object of that hatred.
“The Commission commends University of Kentucky President Lee Todd for his quick response and swift condemnation of this horrendous act. The Commission stands with President Todd in supporting the freedom of political expression, and we stand with him in strongly and unequivocally condemning malicious demonstrations of hatred.
“We also commend the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for aggressively addressing this issue to ensure that it becomes an opportunity to educate Kentucky’s residents on the importance of being ever mindful of the need to promote equality, understanding and diversity.
“Our nation has progressed in many ways. Sadly, incidents such as these continue to occur not only at institutions of higher learning but also in the workplace, businesses, places of worship, and public recreational areas throughout the nation. Incidents of this nature are disruptive to continued progress on matters pertaining to diversity and inclusion.
“The demographics of this state are changing daily. All Kentuckians should embrace what each individual contributes to the betterment of the community and ultimately to the Commonwealth.
“Wherever we find extreme unacceptable and un-American behavior, people of good will and those people who believe in equality must speak strongly against it and take action. While we hope that this incident is an isolated one and that we do not see copy-cat occurrences, individuals who have knowledge of this particular incident or who witness similar events locally are encouraged to contact their local authorities or the state or local human rights commission.
“We hope the investigating agencies will be able to identify the perpetrators so that they can be brought to justice and appropriately punished. The Commission will continue to monitor this situation, and we will use our offices to ensure that laws pertaining to civil rights are upheld and enforced. We will also continue to monitor activities within our borders to remain aware of the state of civil and human rights throughout the Commonwealth.”
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. - 30-