Cheers for Kentucky and for Fairness in Wilderness Trace | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Cheers for Kentucky and for Fairness in Wilderness Trace

It’s been a busy couple of months for members in the Wilderness Trace chapter.

In December, the chapter held its second annual holiday event, Cheers for Kentucky, at V the Market in Danville. Members took the opportunity to not only celebrate the great work the chapter had accomplished over the year, but to also educate people about the shifting political landscape in the chapter area. Because of redistricting, Boyle County is now represented by a new senator. Members posted large printouts of the new district maps and had conversations with people about the shift in legislators.

Preston Miles speaks about KFTC (photo by Lee Ann Paynter)

In-between music sets from Randy Westbrook and Heather Highley, member Preston Miles addressed the crowd and spoke about KFTC, highlighting our work in New Energy and Transition, Appalachia’s Bright Future conference, and our involvement in the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit.

By night’s end, the chapter raised more than $460 and recruited 11 new members.

With the start of the new year, members hit the ground running to uplift and support the push for a local anti-discrimination ordinance in Danville. Since January 2013, two Wilderness Trace KFTC members, Eric Mount and Jane Brantley, have led the effort for a Fairness ordinance in Danville, having met multiple times with a number of city officials. The ordinance members are working for would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eric Mount speaks in support of Fairness (photo by Nick Lacy)

After nearly a year of groundwork being laid by members (including some great letters to the editor in the local paper), the Danville City Commission took up the issue of Fairness in a special workshop on January 27. More than 150 people were in attendance, and three KFTC members, Lee Ann Paynter, Eric Mount, and Jim Porter, gave public comment in support of a local Fairness ordinance. The Danville City Commissioners voted 4-1 to move forward with drafting an ordinance. A draft ordinance is expected in mid-March. (You can find LEX 18 news coverage of the meeting here).

“It’s really gratifying after a year’s worth of work to see it all come together,” said Jane Brantley.

Lee Ann Paynter speaks in support of Fairness (photo by Nick Lacy)

Members are celebrating this as an important step forward, but know that they need to keep the pressure on. Lee Ann Paynter said, “I think we need to keep it in the forefront of our work by continuing to write to The Advocate Messenger and to our City Commissioners, so that the importance of the issue doesn’t wane.”

At their February chapter meeting, members discussed next steps and actions to take to keep Fairness moving forward. Among the ideas discussed were having a presence at all the City Commission meetings until a draft ordinance is presented, speaking at City Commission meetings, writing letters to the editor, and making calls to City Commissioners. Members are ready and excited to do what’s needed to move Fairness forward in Danville and they’ll be hard at work until this important ordinance passes.

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