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Governor Andy Beshear Makes Juneteenth A State Holiday & Expands Protections Against Hairstyle Based Discrimination

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared Juneteenth a holiday for state executive branch workers and banned hairstyle-based discrimination in state hiring. These actions, taken via executive orders, aimed to support Black Kentuckians after legislative efforts failed. 

“After years of inaction, I’ve decided I can no longer wait for others to do what is right,” said Beshear, who was joined by Black lawmakers as he signed the orders in the state Capitol in Frankfort.

Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in Texas, will now be observed as a state executive branch holiday with offices closed. Beshear emphasized Juneteenth as both a celebration and a reminder of ongoing responsibilities. 

“This is an important day in our history as Americans,” he said. “One where we stand united in acknowledging our past and our nation’s greatest injustice. A day when we honor the strength and courage of African-Americans and the contributions they have made and continue to make for our country.”

The second order prohibits discrimination based on natural hair textures and protective styles like braids and locks. Beshear’s actions reflect his commitment to diversity and inclusion, despite legislative hurdles.

“Acknowledging cultural uniqueness is a strength, which provides peace in the world, where everyone should feel comfortable and confident in reaching their full potential without fear of having to remove their crown,” said Melinda Wofford who is a graduate of the Governor’s Minority Management Trainee Program and Assistant Director at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Link: AP News


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