A famous excerpt by poet John Donne, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind” has sparked the formation of the Barbourville Fairness Group. The group hopes to be a catalyst for uniting, embracing and celebrating the diversity that makes up Knox County.
Vice President Lu Fields spoke to the group at its third meeting, sharing her vision for effecting change through love. “A community should be based around all different types of people. The structure of a community is the fabric to all society and its strength is based in the foundation of love – or it should be. No two people are exactly the same, not even twins. That is what makes us wonderfully blessed. We all have something to offer” she said to the 20+ members who braved the cold weather to turn out in support of this new group and its mission. “Just like there are no two snowflakes that fall alike, the same is true of people. And like the snow we are truly only here for a short period of time. I choose to spend that time attempting to love as many people as I can.”
The positivity of this message was palpable throughout the meeting. The sentiment was vocalized well by a member who offered the suggestion, “Fairness y’all warms all” as the slogan to be written on tags to be attached to blankets which they plan to distribute for a blanket drive in December.
As the name implies, Barbourville is joining the other cities around the commonwealth which are standing up for fairness.
While the group plans to execute activism by working in partnerships with KFTC and the Fairness Campaign to enact anti-discrimination language as it pertains to employment and housing in government policies, the group also hopes to be an active presence in the community in hopes that citizens of all walks of life can appreciate differences while recognizing commonalities, and foster an appreciation for both.
There is no shortage of sad stories of people who have encountered prejudice, intolerance or hostility because of race, gender, disability, sexual identity/preferences, or religious beliefs. In spite of this, the group reiterated the positive message they will continue to implement moving forward when a group member quoted Friedrich W. Nietzsche, saying “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…”
The Fairness Group offers much hope to the community. Someone out there may be hanging on by a thread and through kindness and fairness shown intentionally or unintentionally, the group may just be that thread.
The next meeting will take place Friday December 14 at 6 p.m. The group meets in the Union College Frances Patridge Campus Center in the Heritage Room which is on the second floor.
article by Catherine Rhoden-Goguen