Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’

ENDA on Kentucky Tonight

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 64 to 32.

Both senators from Kentucky, Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, voted no on the measure.

If approved by the House and signed by the president, the legislation would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law exempts private businesses that employ fewer than 15 people, as well as churches and religious organizations. The House has not taken up ENDA, and Speaker John Boehner has already criticized the bill for being unnecessary.

Monday on Kentucky Tonight, we had a rousing conversation about ENDA. Our panel debated the balance between civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people versus First Amendment rights protecting religious freedom. The group also discussed concerns that ENDA could adversely affect businesses owners with frivolous lawsuits, despite statistics that indicate no dramatic increase in legal claims where such anti-discrimination protections already exist.

Our guests were Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky; Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign; Richard Nelson, executive director of the Commonwealth Policy Center; and Enid Trucios-Haynes, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

Here’s some of what the panelists had to say:

Next week, KET Winter Pledge programming will pre-empt Kentucky Tonight. It’s our opportunity to thank you for supporting public broadcasting, to offer you a week’s worth of outstanding entertainment, and to remind you of the many reasons that your financial support of KET is an investment in the future of Kentucky.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Everett McCorvey and the 1963 March on Washington

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Where were you 50 years ago?

What do you remember about the events that took place in Washington, D.C., the last week of August 1963 as thousands of Americans joined the March for Jobs and Freedom?

Fifty years later profound questions still linger about the state of equality and race relations in our country. Millions of people will likely consider some of these questions as we commemorate the 1963 march.

Everett McCorvey is one of the people reflecting on the civil rights movement. He is professor of voice and the Lexington Opera Society Endowed Chair in Opera Studies at the University of Kentucky. McCorvey has vivid memories of growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, under segregation.

(Video provided by Alltech. Edited by Kara Ferguson.)

Next week KET and PBS will air several special programs marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. And in September, I’ll sit down with McCorvey on One to One to discuss his thoughts about the march. We’ll also hear about his recent trip to Ireland, where McCorvey and his American Spiritual Ensemble performed at a celebration of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit to his family’s ancestral village of New Ross.

Kentucky a Loser Again

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

For the second time, Kentucky has lost out on Race to the Top funding. Here’s the report from the Associated Press:

ATLANTA — Nine states and the District of Columbia will share $3.4 billion from a controversial “Race to the Top” school reform competition, but even before Tuesday’s announcement President Barack Obama’s program was criticized by teachers unions and civil rights groups.

The winners are: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. The amounts of the grants will be announced later Tuesday, U.S. Education Department spokesman Justin Hamilton said.

And here’s a statement from Governor Beshear’s office:

“While we are disappointed that Kentucky did not win an award in the second round of Race to the Top funding, we are confident that the steps we are taking in education will significantly improve the education experience for Kentucky’s students.  The fact that Kentucky was named a finalist twice for these funds speaks to the success of the combined efforts of my office, the Department of Education (KDE) and the General Assembly.

We will continue to move forward with our vision for education reform through the ongoing efforts of the Governor’s Transforming Education in Kentucky task force, as well as the implementation of Senate Bill 1 of 2009.”

On several KET programs, as recently as last week on our special live edition of Education Matters, we’ve talked about the importance of Race to the Top funding. I know Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday and his staff are very disappointed with today’s announcement.

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