Kind Fair unifies Louisville in solidarity for social progress

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Local activists, allies and community members gathered at the Tim Faulkner Gallery to take part in the Mighty Kindness Kind Fair, one of the hundreds of women’s rights solidarity rallies across the country on Jan. 21.

The Gallery’s rally began at 11 a.m. and lasted until 6 p.m., attracting hundreds of people to the event throughout the day.

According to the Kind Fair’s Facebook event page, the purpose of the forum was to allow and encourage community members to discover a variety of progressive non-profit organizations and choose whichever they believe they should volunteer for in order to promote a specific social cause.

“The purpose of the rally was to galvanize folks to think about what they are passionate about, find a local organization that is helping in that area, and commit to serving with that organization to lift our community up,” said Aim Me Smiley, one of the founders of Mighty Kindness. “The Kind Fair was a tool; a channel, for folks to put their anger, frustration, hope, vision, sadness and heart into finding their purpose and path to creating a kinder more just society. The Kind Fair’s purpose was also a collective, community unity gathering to bring us together to commit to our vision of a better world and to build bridges together.”

The majority of the rally was splanned around a series of live Kentucky bands, speakers, poets and performances on the main stage of the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Most acts represented numerous organizations in attendance and led interactive chants, songs or dialogues about women’s rights or social stereotypes with the audience.

“I’ve been part of Mighty Kindness since the beginning,” said Kri Magesty, a speaker at the rally. “My partner and I are the Love Birds. We play music and do a lot of feminine focus ritual and today we did a chant. What’s underneath is this rising feminine, energetic, creative togetherness.”

“We’re here because we believe in being part of our community,” said Kathi E.B. Ellis, one of four co-artistic directors of Louisville’s Looking for Lilith Theatre Company. “As an ensemble theatre company, our mission is to lift up women’s voices . . . We believe that it’s important to tell complex stories in a multi-faceted way. We want and expect our audiences to be challenged and ask their own questions after they’ve seen our productions.”

Several Manual faculty and students took part in the Kind Fair. They tended to agree that the event was important for instilling a space for solidarity and intersectionality in social issues.

“I decided to come to this rally because I wanted some solidarity and some positivity and some hope,” Ms. Alesia Williams (English) said. “After a pretty bleak political environment over the last 14 or 15 months, I wanted to come together with other people who want to move forward and want to ensure equality . . . and just make sure that we don’t go back 300 years in history.”

Sylvia Bosco (12, HSU) and Charlie Bosco (12, VA) both were present at the Kind Fair because their family volunteers with Books to Prisoners, an organization that accepts book donations and sends their collections to Kentucky inmates based upon direct requests by each convict. Books to Prisoners was one of a multitude of organizations that participated in the rally.

“I think it’s really empowering to see women from all different races, ages, and completely different backgrounds coming together and supporting a common issue,” Sylvia Bosco said.

“It’s also very important to show a variety of issues rather than focusing on just one issue so I really appreciate the intersectionality here,” Charlie Bosco said.

One of the major themes of the rally was intersectional feminism, an emerging idea that women’s rights conjoin with other social movements and should work to advance its cause through collaboration with other marginalized groups. The variety of associations for socially progressive causes, including racial equality, immigrant rights, prisoners’ rights, religious pro-choice groups and children’s protection, represented this concept at the rally.

“A lot of people don’t realize that incarceration is a women’s issue, a family’s issue,” Whitney Harrell, a volunteer for Books for Prisoners, said. “Kentucky families have the highest percent of children that are impacted by incarceration in the country. That has a major impact on women and children. So I would like for more people to look at incarceration overall as a women’s issue too.”

Another key topic of the rally was the racial division still prevalent in the country today. Groups such as Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice attended the event to gain attention and help join people together.

“We decided to come here today because we want to not only make our presence known, but also to educate people about discrimination, about white supremacy, and as well about what our origins are. A lot of people have a skewed view about who we are, where we come from, and what we’re about,” said Lee G. Redfist, a Black Lives Matter activist.

“We work to involve more white people in racial justice issues we believe that this election has shown us that there is a deep deep problem around race in this country and a division along racial lines,” said Carla Wallace, a member of Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice. “I think it’s really important for people to build community with each other across lines of difference and build this collective people’s power. This Mighty Kindness Festival and the big rally that happened downtown earlier are ways for people to build community and speak out together and that makes us much stronger.”

Participants in the rally saw the event as a proactive way to take a stance on imposing issues and discussions that will likely manifest over the next few years.

“Speaking personally, and just from knowing people who are scared, it’s not just Trumpit’s his administration, the Senate, Congress. There are some truly evil people now running our country, and we just need some hope, inspiration, and to unite . . . If we’re strong together, then we can fight against all that [Trump] does that is wrong,” said Naomi Penner, a board member for Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

“Everybody has the right to live a happy, healthy life regardless of income, race, or anything like that,” rally attendee Alison Filippini said. “I think it would be really easy to just sit at home and complain on our couches, but this is a way to let everyone know that we’re all on the same page and let the people who don’t necessarily agree with us understand where we’re coming from hopefully.”

Tim Faulkner Gallery workers organized the Kind Fair as a subsidiary event to follow The Rally to Move Forward women’s march that took place in front of Louisville Metro Hall at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Rally to Move Forward was a Sister March that directly stemmed from the national Women’s March on Washington.

The Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church developed Mighty Kindness as an outreach effort to elevate sustainable practices in the economy and society to benefit the population at-large of the Louisville region.