Jefferson County Chapter hosts 3rd Annual We Are Kentuckians event

This March the Jefferson County Chapter of KFTC hosted the 3rd Annual We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage, a celebration of African American women’s heritage through art, dance, music, spoken word, and storytelling. On a rainy Thursday evening, about one hundred attendees ventured to the Clifton Center to witness powerful performances and speeches by women of color from across the state.

In honor of Women’s History Month, We Are Kentuckians highlighted the important but often unheard stories of Black women in Kentucky. Kentucky female dancers, speakers, musicians and artists shared their work, personal stories and vision for Kentucky’s Bright Future. The full evening lineup included: musicians Committed, Cynthia Fletcher, and Allison Cross (aka: DJ Alli); dancers Dionne Griffiths and Cynthia Brown; poets Hannah Drake and Robin Robinson; storyteller Kristen Williams; and speakers Taylor Little and Andrea Massey.
 

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We Are Kentuckians performer Dionne Griffiths says,  "It was wonderful to be a part of a program with strong, high quality performers. It was even more powerful to be in a program where black women spoke their truth as a way to truly recognize, honor and celebrate the diverse life experiences of African American women. The performances represented the power of black women sharing their narratives, black female artistic expression, and the beauty and significance of self-love and supportive communities."

Allison Cross, the DJ for the evening’s program, reflected on the event on social media stating, “Thank you KFTC for hosting an awesome event last night, celebrating black women in Kentucky. I cannot imagine growing up black in eastern Kentucky but then last night they asked who was from western Kentucky and I might have been the only one. My mother’s family was from Pembroke, Kentucky, near Hopkinsville. They grew up in a farm and my mom’s dad died when she was a teenager…I realize not everyone comes from this rich stock but the strength of these ladies…. To survive, in health and stand up in present times to speak about their lives….Pretty amazing. It’s sad that people don't listen to their voices. So much passed down from our ancestors…..Thank you thank you!”

African American culture and heritage is an important lens for the social, environmental and economic justice issues that KFTC works on throughout the year. The nearly $1,500 raised from this event will go to supporting KFTC’s efforts to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and help them see the connections between their communities and issues – to build long-term, mutually supportive relationships that are the basis for building New Power together. During the event 14 audience members joined KFTC in support of this organizational vision.

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We Are Kentuckians was part of the Clifton Center’s African Americans in Kentucky history event series highlighting African American heritage and music in our region. And once again, Clifton Center donated their theater space for this event.

We Are Kentuckians also featured food and beverages from locally and black owned business Dasha Barbours Southern Bistro, Louisville Vegan Kitchen, and Down Home Tea. There was also a silent auction with items donated by Kentucky businesses and artists highlighting African American history and culture, including Appalshop, Carmichael’s Bookstore, and Grassroots Information Design Studio, and Blackberry Bookstand

This event was organized by a team of KFTC members, staff, and allies: Cassia Herron, Judi Jennings, Hannah Drake, Shavaun Evans, Jared Zarantonello, and Alicia Hurle. Cassia and Shavaun co-emceed the event and Hannah was once of the performers. The team is excited to start planning the 4th Annual We Are Kentuckians later this year.

KFTC member and We Are Kentuckians attendee Denise Groves summed up the evening beautifully. “Last night I attended a dinner that celebrated the accomplishments of women from my state. There were song, dance, and poetry readings. It was wonderful! To be more exact, the dinner honored the accomplishments of women of color, who are never mentioned in the history books.  It didn't matter if you were black, white, brown, red, or yellow! The evening was enjoyed by all.”
 

Click here to view more photos from the event.