“I’m just a concerned community member” was the message we heard from many of the more than 100 people who showed up at a called meeting in early January to discuss possible responses to Senate Bill 6. During that meeting, many ideas were brought forth, one of which was a lobby and rally day which hundreds of people participated in on February 8 in Frankfort. Folks from across the state showed up to show their opposition to this bill and to stand in solidarity with immigrant and migrant families throughout Kentucky. We know with the work being done to resist SB6–with so many new people emerging to be a part of these efforts– the opportunities to build on this energy and new leadership are great.
In Louisville, we reached out to our board of education to pass a Resolution opposing Senate Bill 6. The school board vote will take place on February 14th. Our mayor and our congressman both wrote letters opposing SB6 and our congressman stated clearly that this is a federal issue. In other cities in the Commonwealth, community leaders are asking their chief of police and other elected entities to oppose the bill.
The strong coalition that was built include faith communities, organized labor, human rights and social justice groups, student groups, immigration attorneys and more. During our day of action folks lobbied, asked legislators who looked White to show us their papers, met with our Governor, rallied and we captured a wealth of media attention that will only help to educate voters across the state.
Our work here has been held in a vision that the work we do now to oppose SB6 must be centered on building intentional relationships among concerned neighbors and community members. We are focusing on building relationships from city to city to share information on our efforts, lessons learned and successes. These relationships will help build the power we need across the state to lay the foundation for an environment that is just, fair and welcoming to immigrants and migrants. The black-brown unity that was evident, the leadership of older and younger women and the opportunity for people most directly impacted by this legislation to share their stories are all important aspects of larger movement building within our state.