Whose Moment Is It?

Posted by: Meta Mendel-Reyes on December 17, 2014

This is a Movement moment.  Whose moment is it?  Like any of the risings of the past, there are people trying to claim the moment.  But you can’t own a moment, hold it within your hands like a fluttering bird that can’t escape, grasp it so tightly that no one else can claim it. 

If the moment belongs to anyone, it belongs to the young people of color (POC) activists who lead the crowds around, who lead the chants, “No justice, No peace.”  “Tell me what democracy looks like, This is what democracy looks like.”   It can be hard for us as white people to recognize that, really recognize - because all our lives we have been told to hold on to what we have, tightly, to not let any possession go.   Yet this moment calls on us to do just that, to let go our privilege and help to build new kinds of relationships between POC and white.

Yesterday, a mixed group of college students blocked an intersection in my little town.  Fearing for their safety, I ran between the blocked cars, pleading with the drivers to wait the 4 ½ minutes that the action would take.  Behind me, the loud chants ran out, led by a young Black woman, her sign reaching to the sky. One car did in fact break through the line, the driver screaming at the youth and at me.  Afterwards, I was troubled.  Was I protecting the young people or was I getting in the way of their newfound freedom?  I think now that I should have let them go, or perhaps picked up a sign, echoing the chants that they were calling out. 

White people do not own this moment.  Our best intentions can get in the way of what we can do, which is to organize ourselves to fight alongside of our POC brothers and sisters.  Not to lead the charge or try to protect them, but to recognize that our mutual interest calls white people and POC to struggle together.  Racism tears apart white working class people and POC, when we need to unite to win social and economic justice.

This is a delicate balance. POC leaders call us to join their actions, but not to take them over by stepping to the front.  It’s so easy for us, with our skin color privilege, to do this without even being aware of it. Isn’t it a service to the Movement for white people to beat on cars and taunt police? What may look to us like brave cop baiting looks very different to POC who stand to lose the most in any confrontation.  

Meanwhile, our main task is to organize white people.  Organizing is not shaming others who are not at “our” level, nor is it condescending to them because they haven’t read the latest online article.  We need to unite ourselves on the basis of mutual self-interest, to call each other in, rather than call each other out. We are privileged to be a part of one of the largest Movement moments of the 21st century.  Let us not lose it by trying to grasp it too tightly.


Note: This reflection was written by KFTC member Meta Mendel-Reyes on December 9, 2014. Meta is the Steering Committee Representative for the Madison County KFTC chapter. She is also active with the national organization Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

0 comments view comments

Long-time KFTC leader Daymon Morgan remembered

Posted by: KFTC staff on December 14, 2014

Daymon Morgan, one of KFTC’s longest and best-known members, has died. He was 88 and had experienced a brief illness.

0 comments view comments

Black Lives Matter: KFTC member reflections and resources for learning and taking action

Lexington Black Lives Matter Rally. Photo credit: Meta Mendel-Reyes
Posted by: Lisa Abbott on December 13, 2014

Back-to-back decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City not to press charges against police officers who killed Mike Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men, have sparked massive protests, along with heartache, anger, and calls for accountability and change in communities across Kentucky and the nation. The injustices exposed by these recent cases are sadly not new, and neither is the movement that is growing in response to them. However, recent events have created a moment filled with a sense of urgency, energy and determination. 

0 comments view comments

2014 Kentucky Kicks Ass Brewfest

Posted by: Sarah Martin on December 2, 2014

Austin Norrid, Danielle Empson, Tyler Offerman>800 Tickets

50 Beers

35 Volunteers

14 Breweries

3 Food Trucks

3 KY Hops Organizations

1 Awesome Honky-Tonk DJ

= FUN!

0 comments view comments

Big win: Judge rejects deals between Kentucky officials and coal company

Posted by: KFTC staff on November 24, 2014

The Franklin Circuit Court on Monday issued two long-awaited orders rejecting settlement deals between the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and Frasure Creek Mining arising from the coal company’s thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 through 2011.

In extraordinarily vigorous language, Judge Phillip Shepherd said that due to the coal company’s actions, “The inherent danger of the violations at issue here to the environment is impossible to determine based on Frasure Creek's wholesale abdication of its monitoring and reporting responsibilities, and the cabinet's inability to fully investigate the environmental harm that is likely to have occurred.”

“Since October 2010, we have been in the courts to see that the law be enforced in the state of Kentucky,” said Ted Withrow, a member of KFTC's Litigation Team. “These rulings by Judge Shepherd serve to enforce that right of the people."

In 2010, Appalachian Voices, Kentucky Waterkeeper Alliance, Kentucky Riverkeeper, KFTC and several individuals made public more than 20,000 violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 to 2010 by Frasure Creek and a second coal company, International Coal Group (which later settled out of court). Under the law, these violations could be subject to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. On the 57th day, the cabinet and Frasure Creek entered a proposed consent agreement that included only 1,520 violations and combined fines of just $310,000.

0 comments view comments

Building power for KFTC and for Kentucky: KFTC PowerBuilders

Posted by: George Eklund on November 18, 2014

We are our own best hope for change in Kentucky. We have a vision of the Kentucky we want to create and how to get there. Hardworking Kentuckians share their hopes and dreams every day in laundromats and coffee shops, over kitchen tables and on front porches. How do we share our visions for Kentucky in an intentional way with our friends and families?

0 comments view comments

Thanks for helping build a Healthier Democracy in Ky!

Posted by: KFTC staff on November 4, 2014

The polls in Kentucky are getting ready to close. As we await the election results we want to say THANKS for the incredible work done by KFTC members, volunteers, short-term voter empowerment organizers and staff over the past few months. With your help we are building a healthier democracy in Kentucky.

0 comments view comments

KFTC and Berea College team up for candidate forum

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 31, 2014

0 comments view comments

Madison chapter celebrates 10 years of grassroots work

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 30, 2014

Madison County KFTC members gathered in Berea on October 25 to celebrate the chapter’s 10th birthday, share a potluck, enjoy live music and take silly photos.

The annual Friendraiser was a chance to not only reflect on the past year’s work but also celebrate the good work of the chapter’s first 10 years.

0 comments view comments

'After Coal' forums connect mining communities across globe and bring out local candidates

Posted by: Lillian Prosperino on October 27, 2014

On October 7, KFTC’s Letcher County Chapter paired with Appalshop in Whitesburg and the After Coal project of Appalachian State University, to host a public community forum on economic transition, and a local candidate meet and greet reception.

The evening reception began with informal conversation among the 80 guests and several candidates for local office, including the mayor of Whitesburg and a few city council candidates. Mair Francis, founder of the DOVE Workshop, and Hywel Francis, a Labour Member of Parliament for Aberavon, Wales, traveled all the way to Whitesburg in order to discuss policies on sustainable community development in Wales and Appalachia. This was Mair and Hywell's first visit back to east Kentucky since sharing their experiences as the opening session of Appalachia's Bright Future conference in Harlan last year.

0 comments view comments

Be the Change: Sign up to help build power this fall

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 24, 2014

Be the Change!

This Fall KFTC is PowerRaising: registering, educating and empowering voters; developing a statewide network of community leaders; and inviting people to invest in Kentucky’s bright future. With more voters, members, leaders, and the resources to fund these efforts, we can build the Kentucky we want to call home.  

We are Kentuckians. We are our best hope for change.  

That’s you. All of us together investing in KFTC and in Kentucky.

We CAN make a difference by (click on the link):

Getting Involved

Creating a personal fundraising (PowerBuilder) page

Donating, joining or renewing your membership

For more information, reach out to KFTC Development Associate JoAnna House at joanna@kftc.org or 502-532-1286.

0 comments view comments


Subscribe to KFTC Blog