KFTC Steering Committee Discuss Organizing for Racial Justice

Racial justice and organizing for the 2019 and 2020 elections were the focus for KFTC Steering Committee members and guests as they met in Berea on February 2.

“We talked about how our system is designed by white supremacy from the get-go and how that impacts our world and behaviors,” reported Joyce Adkins of Warren County. She and other KFTC members attended the Facing Race Conference in Detroit late last year.

“Facing Race was an eye opener for me and gave me a thirst to learn more,” Adkins further noted. “I learned things that I never really thought of before. One was the relationship between school suspension and mass incarceration, and the impact this has on people of color.”

Other members who attended the conference in Detroit shared in reporting back the the steering committee, including how they engaged during the conference to deepen their understanding of and skill set for racial justice organizing.

Tiffany Duncan of Fayette County shared that the conference was a powerful space to have many conversations with people of color. Attendees discussed, “the ways internalized anti-blackness shows up and ways that impacts how people of color view ourselves and each other.”

In describing the experience as “totally transformational,” Duncan emphasized, “We can’t always be in the fighting position.” For Duncan, this highlighted the importance of “holding space for people of color so that we can heal from the impacts of racial injustice.”

Chandra Cruz-Thompson of Jefferson County noted that the conference was a “paradigm strengthener to be around like-minded people. I feel empowered to walk that path [for racial justice] even more and sharing that with you.” She reminded the Steering Committee that “democracy has only existed when we made it so.”

Following the Facing Race report, the committee discussed the Race/Class Narrative framework for discussing issues and organizing for change. The Race/Class Narrative emphasizes the importance of directly addressing race and class in political conversations and organizing.

“Watch out for divide and conquer strategies. Focus on the power and who has it,” emphasized KFTC Chairperson Meta Mendel-Reyes, pointing out that folks working for change face concerted strategies to undermine these efforts.

She asked folks to use their privilege to “lift others up. Not to act out of guilt, but out of solidarity.”

The Steering Committee also discussed ways that people have built grassroots power in Kentucky and across the country. Damien Hammons from Whitley County noted that one way to build people power is “being ourselves in our daily lives. This presents a great example of making people feel welcome.”

Other items the committee discussed include the 2019 and 2020 elections, as well as membership and fundraising efforts.

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