Kentucky Equality Federation (formerly Kentucky Equality Association) is now officially offering to serve as a "buffer" between victims of hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying.
Kentucky Equality has successfully settled nine complaints submitted by members across Kentucky so far in 2006 with two others still pending. Until today however, Kentucky Equality offered no official online form or specific manager to handle the complaints. So far, none of the cases have required lawsuits.
Given the fact that Kentucky Equality Federation has received so many official complaints and general inquiries this year alone, the Board of Directors believes this is the next logical step. "If the people need us to serve in this capacity, then we will step up to the plate," stated Nancy Couch, Secretary of the Federation.
Kentucky Equality believes a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in reporting them, others fear being "outed" or reprisals from their perpetrators. However, unless people do report it, there will be no true record of the extent of the problem and nothing will be done to address it.
"Some children and teenager's, especially in small Kentucky communities are afraid to go to the police, or take legal action when they suffer from or witness discrimination, school bullying, and even hate crimes," stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. "Schools throughout the commonwealth are particularly quick to dismiss school bullying related to a child or teenager's gender identity and sexual orientation; we want to make sure their complaints are taking seriously, and make sure local officials stop it with more than just a slap on the wrist."
Kentucky Equality will keep all specific information submitted by victims confidential unless violence or a life is at risk. "If the person wants our help, we will do everything possible and necessary to keep their names confidential, and bring every resource to bear on the issue," stated Palmer. "Kentucky Equality Association/Federation isn't just about fighting for civil rights, we stand united together when one of us is attacked, in whatever form."
Kentucky Equality believes teaching tolerance and acceptance is critical at high schools, colleges, and universities; last week the Federation matched operating budgets for Eastern Kentucky University's "EKU Pride Alliance," and Boone County High School's "Gay-Straight Alliance."