MOUNT VERNON — A new group, aimed at responding to incidents of racism and increasing awareness both for local and national issues involving racism, has gotten its start in Knox County.
The Knox Alliance for Racial Equity (KARE) has been “fleshed out” in the last 4 months by founding members through planning, development of the group and its goals and purpose and recruitment of members, said Samantha Bartram, who is in charge of public relations for the group. The idea for the group was first proposed by Kenyon professor Peter Rutkoff, Bartram explained, who saw a need for a group that could respond to incidents and that could be a resource for the community.
The KARE statement of purpose reads:
“Our goal is to promote a welcoming community for all who live and visit Knox County and to strive for civic justice and racial equality.”
In the statement of purpose, KARE outlines several endeavors that it hopes to achieve including, encouraging “greater understanding of local history,” promoting and celebrating diversity in the community, being “proactive to prevent and reactive to local incidences of injustice and inequality,” encouraging “active participation and leadership in various community organizations and structures” and serving as a resource for the local community. Bartram explained that the first step the group will take on is raising awareness of the need to be mindful of all in the community and helping the community understand what that looks like.
“Once awareness is raised, that’s when you start to see a change in behavior and people starting to talk to friends and family and that expands to the community,” Bartram said. “I think people will wonder if a group like this is needed [in our community], but it is. We need interpersonal communication in the community and more awareness and more understanding of why it is important. KARE brings folks of divergent backgrounds together who are feeling that national pulse and shows that we are here in solidarity, not just sticking our heads in the sand, but sitting up taking notice and getting involved in the conversation.”
So far, KARE has had only one public appearance at the 16 annual Knox County Dr. King Celebration Breakfast held at Kenyon Jan. 21. Looking to the future, Bartram explained, the group hopes to get involved in more community events and festivals. The group has been meeting once or twice a month since it started vamping up in mid-October, according to Bartram. To get involved, or for further information email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the KARE website at https://knoxallianceforracialequity.wordpress.com/.