Black Kentuckians need more consideration from Ky. lawmakers, ACLU says

Black Kentuckians need more consideration from Ky. lawmakers, ACLU says
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 12:27 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - As the 2023 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly winds down, we now know there are some bills that won’t receive any more action.

The ACLU of Kentucky says a couple of those stalled bills would support Black Kentuckians.

The Kentucky legislature’s efforts to pass the CROWN Act this year involved bipartisan support.

“It would bring equity and inclusion to Black Kentuckians and would prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles,” said Jackie McGranahan, ACLU of Kentucky.

Bills on the issue were filed in both chambers and Senator Whitney Westerfield’s, R-Fruit Hill, SB 63 passed out of committee. However, it stalled from there with the Herald-Leader reporting that Senate Floor Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said it didn’t have the votes to pass.

McGranahan and the ACLU of Kentucky say they are disappointed at its failure to pass. Hundreds gathered for a rally earlier in the session, but she thinks lawmakers need more education on the subject to get legislation over the line.

“This isn’t an issue for most lawmakers. They haven’t experienced this type of hair-based discrimination,” said McGranahan. “Just educating them about, this is something happening all over the state.”

With three days left in the session, a Juneteenth bill has also stalled yet again after lawmakers promised to make it a state holiday in 2020.

McGranahan says there needs to be more consideration for bills that support Black Kentuckians on both sides of the aisle.

“This has to be something that’s continuing to come up in conversation, not just at times when something traumatic happens,” said McGranahan.