Jefferson County Chapter discusses local issues

Last week’s Jefferson County Chapter meeting kicked off with a brief report from Mary Love about Alliance for Appalachia’s 8th Annual Week in Washington. Mary was a member of the KFTC delegation again this year. The Alliance focuses not only on ending mountaintop removal mining but is also working toward a just and sustainable transition in Appalachia.

Jared Zarantonello gave a presentation on WFOR Forward Radio, “a community-based, low power FM radio start-up and media project operating as an educational arm of the Louisville chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in pursuit of peace and social justice. WFOR seeks to create a network of community partners to aid in building a more diverse and relevant model of media. This will ensure that our diverse local voices that are ignored by the mainstream media are heard and that the public interest is served through media.”

During the presentation, members shared their ideas for radion programming: story on the mission of St. George’s Community Center, Strange Fruit Podcast on LGBTQ issues, stories from TARC users, biking issues in Louisville, info from AARP, helping folks figure out if they owe taxes, and energy efficiency and renewables. If you have ideas you would like to share or if you want to learn more about WFOR contact Jared at, 502-468-6519 or jaredzarantonello@gmail.com

Grassroots Organizing 

The second half of our meeting focused grassroots organizing and local issue work. We went through a crash course on grassroots organizing. We defined grassroots organizing as:

  • People working together to achieve a common goal
  • Bottom-up, not top down
  • People building their own power
  • Challenges and changes power relationships
  • Empowers people who are not usually involved
  • Decision-making in the hands of people directly affected
     

Next we discussed the differences between problems and issues. Problems are anything undesirable and can be international, national, local or even personal. Examples include neighborhood crime, world hunger, and unsafe roads. A problem becomes an issue when a group calls attention to it and proposes a solution. Characteristics of a good issue include:

  • Winnable
  • Builds the organization
  • Develops leaders
  • Simple, easy to explain
  • Clear target
  • Unites people
  • Strongly felt
  • Affects a lot of people
  • Involves a lot of people
  • Specific
  • Serves organization’s broader goals
  • Makes a difference
  • Draws attention
  • Brings in new members
  • Strengthens power base
  • Not divisive within the group
  • Good timing
  • Has a clear solution

 

Local Issue Work 

The grassroots organizing crash course led us into a discussion about local issues that we want to work on as a chapter. Members at the meeting agreed that focusing on one or two local issues could attract current members to become more active in the chapter and may also help us to attract new members. Chapter organizer Alicia Hurle reviewed a few local issues that have been presented to her by members and allies since she began working as the chapter’s organizers in January. Christie McCravy, a Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund board member, also gave a presentation on local affordable housing issues. Members also discussed local issues that were of interest to them.
 

Proposed Local Issues:

  1. Coal Ash pollution in communities surrounding the LG&E’s Mill Creek and Trimble County plants
  2. Immigrants Rights: Friendly City Ordinance & Driver’s Certificates for undocumented immigrants and refugees in Kentucky
  3. Economic Justice: securing funding for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund through the passage of a local ordinance
  4. Rubbertown Air Quality: Working with REACT (Rubbertown Emergency ACTion) to organize odor response teams in an effort to create standard operating procedures for the Air Pollution Control District
  5. Voting Rights for Former Felons: passage of a local resolution in support of House Bill 70
  6. Brownfields in the California neighborhood (“A brownfield is a vacant or underutilized site where the threat of contamination has made redevelopment more complex. Common examples     include abandoned manufacturing facilities, gas stations, and dry cleaners.”) 
  7. Money in Politics: local/state resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that would limit money in politics

After the local issues were presented, the members in the room voted for their top 3 choices. Issues #1, 3, and 7 received the most votes. The group agreed that this decision-making process should be extended to the entire chapter. Alicia plans to email a survey to  chapter members to get further input. Deciding on a local issue will also be on the agenda for the Annual Chapter Meeting on Monday, June 10th. Local issues strategy teams will be formed during that meeting. If you have questions about this process or would like to offer your input, please contact Alicia, alicia@kftc.org or 502.589.3188.
 

We wrapped up the meeting with announcements:

Jefferson County Annual Chapter meeting: Monday, June 10th, 6 p.m., First Unitarian Church, 809 S. 4th Street. We will have a potluck during the meeting so please bring a dish if you can. 

Butchertown Art Fair: Saturday, June 1st, 10 p.m. to 7 p.m. We still need volunteers to work at the KFTC info table. Contact Alicia if you’re available, alicia@kftc.org or 502.589.3188.

Forecastle Festival: July 12-14. We still need volunteers to work at the KFTC beer truck. Tips raised at the beer truck will be donated to KFTC. Contact Alicia if you’re available, alicia@kftc.org or 502.589.3188.

Environmental Justice March & Rally: Thursday, June 20th, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is organized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a part of their General Assembly, and Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light. The march starts at the KY International Convention Center at 4th & Market Streets and ends at the Belvedere at 5th & Main Streets. The focus of the rally will be on clean energy and healthy communities and will feature speeches by Wendell Berry, Tim DeChristopher, and several Kentuckians directly impacted by environmental justice issues.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.