KFTC 2018 annual membership meeting reflection | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

KFTC 2018 annual membership meeting reflection

KFTC’s annual meeting once again demonstrated the power that a 37-year-old grassroots organization can bring to bear. Harnessing the people power of its near 12,000 strong members, KFTC brought together over 300 of its membership in Berea. They attended multiple workshops throughout a weekend full of training, learning, dialogue and fellowship.

KFTC members tour Berea College to learn about the institution’s legacy and history.Aside from the necessary administration of chapter petitions, platform changes, officer elections and recognizing the significant work and contributions of many, KFTC’s annual meeting is a time for its membership, which spans the entire commonwealth of Kentucky, to meet and talk face to face. For such a large, decentralized organization, this time is invaluable for networking, planning and growing. It’s a time for members to connect with each other when they otherwise might not, and this aspect of the meeting found special emphasis this year with the theme of “Creating Kentucky’s Beloved Community.”

During this time, members took advantage of the opportunity to share stories, interests and concerns. They found common causes, and they made plans to pursue those causes. United by issues such as tax justice, health care reform, gender equality, racism and environmental advocacy, the membership explored new strategies for harnessing its own power. In small group sessions, members built up their skills, helping each other learn about organizing, social media and leveraging people power to build better democratic communities.

On Saturday night, the meeting’s attendees were treated to the main presentation of the weekend’s keynote speaker, Anthony Thigpenn, a Los Angeles-based community organizer and president of California Calls, an alliance of 31 organizations throughout California. In his speech, Thigpenn leveraged his over 30 years of experience to provide insight and advice in grassroots organizing and activism. Thigpenn also offered more in-depth information and strategies in one of the weekend’s workshops, “Power Analysis: Building a Plan to Build Governing Power.”

As the weekend and the meeting came to an end, KFTC’s membership had to say their goodbyes for perhaps another year. However, they were eagerly making plans to return to their own beloved home communities, committed to sharing their newly learned skills and heartfelt connections. Emboldened by the annual meeting experience, members left with new visions of more just and democratic communities as well as the skills, abilities and connections to make those communities a reality.

KFTC members gather for their annual group photograph.