KFTC members discuss diversity, celebrate good work
"You're reading the status of one of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth's newest members! :) The overall feeling I took away from my KFTC weekend was pride. Seeing folks from all over our commonwealth, coming together for the betterment of everyone, not just a select few. As Kentuckians, we are bombarded with negative images/stereotypes/bad politics constantly. I've never loved this land and its people more than I do right now and I'm more than hopeful for our shared future. If you love Kentucky, join us!"
--Facebook post by Sarah Martin, who attended her first KFTC Annual Membership Meeting last weekend
About 175 folks from across Kentucky took over the Kentucky Leadership Center in Jabez last weekend for KFTC’s Annual Membership Meeting. Surrounded by new and long-time friends and a palette of fall color, members considered the theme “Celebrating Our Differences: Finding Common Ground.”
Keynote speaker K.A. Owens, a past chair of KFTC, described the importance of diversity in making change.
“I believe that diversity is not a chore; it’s not a burden,” Owens said. “We believe in diversity because it’s right, because it works and because it’s fun. There is no reason for anybody to moan and groan because we are talking about diversity. Diversity is the best thing that ever happened to America, and it would not be great without it.”
Owens described his own organizing in Louisville around police brutality with a diverse range of allies and his involvement with KFTC’s diverse family since the late 1990s. He said diversity matters in Kentucky and the United States – in politics, culture, business, education, science and law.
“When I joined KFTC I felt then and still do that the only chance Kentucky has is for people from the small towns, rural areas and urban areas to work together to move the state forward. I felt that KFTC has a good chance of making that happen. This would require diversity. It can’t be achieved without diversity,” Owens said. “Diversity matters to KFTC because the world is changing. The United States is changing. Kentucky is changing.”
According to Owens, KFTC’s history bears out this claim. “When we have been successful, it has been because we have reached out to all areas of the state.”
One example of KFTC’s diversity is the range of chapters across the state doing a variety of work who come together at the annual meeting to support and celebrate each other. From the Southern Kentucky Chapter (formerly Bowling Green and Friends) to the new Wilderness Trace and Shelby chapters and the long-time chapters in eastern Kentucky, members talked about their work, cheered for each other and compared notes.
In addition to workshops on KFTC’s issue campaigns, the weekend included a look at the history of diversity within KFTC and conversations about immigrant rights, racial justice, LGBTQ equality, and organizing in rural communities.
Members competed for silent auction items and entertained each other at a talent show and cultural sharing. They ended the weekend with a business meeting to elect officers, adopt the KFTC platform and accept chapter petitions.