The Richmond Register

Local News

July 28, 2013

Fairness picnic rallies support for non-discrimination ordinance

BEREA — Community group Bereans for Fairness hosted its first Fairness Picnic at Memorial Park on Saturday. The group is in support of the city passing a fairness ordinance that would extend protections against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations to individuals based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We haven’t had a big event like this to show that this (ordinance) is supported,” said Kate Grigg, Eastern Kentucky regional organizer for the Fairness Coalition.

Grigg said Bereans for Fairness has shown support for the Berea City Council passing a fairness ordinance for nearly two and a half years. The movement started with a small group of supporters, and eventually numbered in the hundreds. When the city hosted forums to gauge public support of a fairness ordinance, Grigg said the response was overwhelming.

“At the second forum 400 to 500 people showed up,” she said, noting that the forum had been moved to a larger venue. “A few months later, the city reenacted the Human Rights Commission to study the issue and make a recommendation.”

HRC chair Lisa Vaughn, who was at the picnic, said the commission was close to a decision.

“The Human Rights Commission has been assessing the need in the past six months,” Vaughn said. “A recommendation will be coming in a short amount of time.”

Berea won’t be alone on the list of Kentucky cities that have enacted fairness ordinances. Louisville, Lexington and Covington all have ordinances in place. Frankfort has heard first reading of a draft and Vicco, a small city of about 350 in Eastern Ky., became a featured story in the New York Times after passing an ordinance.

“Where is Berea?” asked Meta Mendel-Reyes, associate professor of peace and justice at Berea College, who spoke at the picnic. “Berea is here, sitting at these red picnic tables.”

Mae Suramek, executive director of the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center and former chair of the Berea HRC, said not passing a fairness ordinance would go against the ideals on which Berea was founded.

“As a town founded 160 years ago on fairness, equality and impartial Christian love, we are being hypocrites,” Suramek said.

In addition to food, music and games, the picnic also featured an information booth. Supporters could fill out cards sending messages supporting fairness legislation to members of the Berea City Council as well as state legislators. Some members of the city government, like City Councilman Billy Wagers and Mayor Steven Connelly, attended the picnic.

The information stand also featured a large box with the question: “What would it mean to you to live in a community with a fairness ordinance?” which people could answer anonymously.

During the picnic, several individuals shared personal stories about how an ordinance would affect them, including Mendel-Reyes, who stressed the fairness ordinance isn’t simply a gay rights issue.

“So often we hear about heterosexuals standing up for gay people -- which is a great thing,” she said. “But gay people are also standing up for straight people. Gay people are standing up for everybody in saying that ‘injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.’”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-20 Shoulders-B.jpg Eggs fly at park

    Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
    For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.

    April 20, 2014 12 Photos

  • City awaits funds for Water Street project

    Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
    However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.

    April 20, 2014

  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13

    While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.

    April 20, 2014

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results