Madison County KFTC Works for Fairness | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Madison County KFTC Works for Fairness

KFTC opposes discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. That is why the Madison County chapter KFTC is joining with the Fairness Campaign in their fight to end discrimination against members of the LGBT community by passing a fairness law in Berea that would make it a crime to discriminate against gay or transgendered people in employment, restaurants, housing, or other businesses.

Berea has historically been progressive in terms of the implementation of equal rights. Berea College, and the town that settled around it, was founded in 1855 in the years leading up to the Civil War. John Fee, the founder of the College, was a radical abolitionist who not only believed that African slaves should be freed, but that they should live alongside white Americans as equals. Another of his principles was the equal rights of men and women, a concept that was almost unheard of in his time. Berea College, despite opposition from the state of Kentucky and the Supreme Court of the United States, has maintained its commitments to equal rights from the beginning.

Bereans For Fairness -  which local KFTC members are active in, want to see the continuation of this tradition of the recognition of human rights. Bereans For Fairness formed to fight for the adoption of a fairness ordinance by Berea's city council. Despite the broad support for the bill in Berea, which has been evidenced by the hundreds of Berea residents that have voiced their support for a fairness ordinance, some members of the city council have completely refused to vote for such a measure. Despite paying lip service to the idea of equality and human rights, several members of the city council have refused to take a step towards the defense and implementation of these principles.

Support for the fairness ordinance continues to grow in Berea, however. Students at Berea College have become concerned with the issue, and several student activists have rallied to form the Harvey Milk Society, a group committed to the recognition of rights for gay and transgendered people in Berea. Named for the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, the Harvey Milk Society hopes to help the Berea Fairness Coalition in their attempt to pressure the Berea city council to adopt the fairness ordinance. Although just starting out, the students in the group are drawing upon Berea's rich heritage of support for equal rights as they fight for fairness. Jordan Engel, a student who attended the first meeting, said "Berea has a tradition of fairness in every social aspect. The fairness movement is just the continuation of that tradition."

Silas House, prominent Kentucky author, a professor at Berea College, and active KFTC member, helped to put together the Harvey Milk Society and supports fairness in Berea. "It's important for students to be involved in this," he said. "This is their generation's civil rights movement." His words help to frame the issue, and illustrate what is at stake. Discrimination is a daily reality for gay and transgendered people, and to truly support equal rights means support for fairness as well. On September 20th, the Berea Fairness Coalition will be staging a rally in support of the fairness ordinance on the steps of Union Church in Berea. Afterwards, supporters will go to the Berea City Hall to encourage the city council to vote to support equal rights in Berea. Come show your support for the fairness movement in Berea, and join the fight against discrimination in all its forms.

For more information on the fairness movement, visit:

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