Op-Ed

Don't codify bigotry in Senate Bill 6

People held signs and flags during a rally opposing Senate Bill 6, a proposal to crack down on illegal immigrants, on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday.
People held signs and flags during a rally opposing Senate Bill 6, a proposal to crack down on illegal immigrants, on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday.

We watched history unfold in Egypt last week. People took to the streets to let their government know they wanted to be free. Free to work where they please, free to go to school, free to live with their families, free to have a good life.

Here in Kentucky, we have people who have come here to find work, get an education, live with their families and have a better life. That's what I did in 1983, and my family and I are happy to be residents of this great commonwealth.

As an immigrant from another state, I know circumstance and timing are why I'm here with the full benefits of citizenship.

I also know our ancestors worked hard to establish a country that encouraged the "huddled masses" to come to seek the American Dream.

Unfortunately, some people who come here are not afforded the same benefits because they were born in another country. Despite efforts to get into the United States, people have come by any means possible to make a better life for themselves. Wouldn't you do the same for your mother and father, sister and brother or your kids?

We have been taught these are unalienable rights. These are human rights. This is how we were treated and how we must treat others.

The Lexington Human Rights Commission wants to ensure that every person is afforded human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As our resolution renouncing Senate Bill 6, an act relating to unauthorized aliens, states, we understand the complexity of immigration law and the need to reform such laws. However, as a community, a state, a nation, we cannot allow our debate of this issue and the legal decisions to be reduced to or be guided by frustration and fear.

We must resolve in all ways and at all times to act with humanity toward others, whether they are of the same color, the same race, the same religion, the same nationality, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, upbringing, family situation and any other characteristic that defines people who seem different than we are.

We must not allow our laws to categorize any person as "the other," and in doing so codify bigotry in our laws.

Where SB 6 seeks to take away human rights, we, standing together as the Lexington Human Rights Commission, oppose this legislation.

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