Madison County members learn together and discuss opportunities for engagement at May chapter meeting

The Madison County chapter had a good, thoughtful chapter meeting this past Monday, May 20, in the beautiful Appalachian Center gallery at Berea College.

05.20.13 Madison County chapter meeting

After a great icebreaker, Meta Mendel-Reyes facilitated an exercise from Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Everyone looked at a list of a couple dozen statements having to do with everyday life and checked off the ones they felt were true for them. This led to a discussion of how people felt about these statements and what they found surprising.

Some remarked that their response to these has changed over time, while others shared how some of the statements covered topics they would not have thought about before, such as “I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race” and “I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.” This exercise was part of a series of mini-workshops that Meta has led at meetings since the beginning of the year, so that the chapter is continually thinking about and discussing racial justice.

We broke out into small groups and discussed what we might say at this meeting and what issues to raise. People agreed that focusing on restoring voting rights to former felons was important, but that we should also use the opportunity to talk about other issues concerning democracy, including extending hours at the polls, expanding early voting, and improving absentee voting. We discussed the importance of not just sharing facts, but sharing stories, including our own.Steve Boyce then gave a brief report from the first brainstorm meeting of the Friendraiser planning committee, sharing some initial broad goals, such as catch-up with long-time members, engage current members, bring out new members, share information about our work, and have fun. The Friendraiser is tentatively set for Saturday, September 28 at HomeGrown Hideaways outside of Berea. Keep your eyes open for more details over the coming months!

05.20.13 Madison County chapter meeting

Megan Naseman said, “Thinking about our earlier exercise related to this, how I have privilege in being able to leave work to go to a meeting, that I have transportation, I just think that voting should be as easy for everybody as it is for me.”

Steve Wilkins then gave a mini-workshop on understanding peak electric demand. We learned that when demand for electricity is at its highest (peak demand) during the summer hours of 6-7 p.m. and winter hours of 6-7 a.m. and again 6-7 p.m., that we are actually paying more for electricity used at that time because utilities switch on special equipment in order to meet the demand. Steve told us about programs that Kentucky Utilities and BlueGrass Energy customers could take advantage of to help offset peak demand. He also explained that we could all do our part to help reduce peak demand by not doing activities during peak hours that are energy-intensive, such as doing laundry. To learn about KU’s program, go here. For BlueGrass Energy, go here.

Join us for the Madison County Annual Chapter Meeting on Monday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center on Berea College’s campus (205 N. Main St., Berea). Madison County KFTC Chapter members will elect officers for KFTC's statewide committees, discuss KFTC's platform, vote to continue being a chapter, and celebrate our work over the past year. We’ll then spend our second hour with some special guests: members from nearby chapters! See you there!

If you have questions about the Madison County chapter or want to learn how to get more involved, please don’t hesitate to contact Beth Bissmeyer at bethbissmeyer@kftc.org or (859) 314-2044.

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