Saturday May 19 at BCTC’s Cooper campus
By Rebecca Claire Glasscock
“It is a remarkable paradox that, at the pinnacle of human material and technical achievement, we find ourselves anxiety-ridden, prone to depression, worried about how others see us, unsure of our friendships, driven to consume and with little or no community life.” So opens The Spirit Level by Kate Picket and Richard Wilkinson. The book’s authors, two public health experts, make the case that equitable societies are better societies. The benefits extend from physical and mental health to reduced violence, stronger communities and better outcomes for our youth.
Yet, in the U.S. over the last 35 years, we have been going in the opposite direction—toward greater and greater inequity. The gap between the super-rich and everyone else is astounding as is the power of corporations to push an agenda that benefits the elite. As we grapple with these economic and social issues, we are also speeding into a future of climate chaos and the end of the era of cheap fossil fuels.
Although the response is certainly understandable, being in denial does not help. We, our children, our communities, our world will be much better served if we grit our teeth, look problems square in the face, and energize ourselves to work here in Lexington and the Bluegrass to build a future that is decent for everyone. We don’t have to start from scratch—we have a lot of great models. Berea is one of our country’s Transition Towns, a movement aimed at transitioning, without great disruption, from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy, local production, community connections, and conservation. In Lexington, fair trade is increasingly understood and supported as an important way to protect workers around the world. We have a strong local foods movement of farmers markets, community and school gardens, and CSAs. Music, film, art, and poetry add to the spirit of our town. All of these things help bring us together and strengthen our community.
Lexington’s festivals also serve this purpose. One of the festivals coming up this month, on the Saturday after Mother’s Day, is the seventh annual Peace & Global Citizenship Fair, hosted by a student organization at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. It’ll be held on the Cooper Campus of BCTC (on the north side of Commonwealth Stadium) from 11:30 until 6:00 on May 19. This year’s theme is “an embrace of local and global communities and cultures.” The festival is eclectic, with a range of activities focused on enjoying and learning about global cultures, social justice, peace, ecological sustainability, skills-building for resilience, art, music, and—of course—food.
Local food, provided by Marksbury Farm Market, will be available. International food will be provided by Fritanga. Local music, including OOGrass and local legends Lost Dog, will be on tap along with international music, including Cheryl Pan and the Chinese dancers, and Cuban musicians Yoisel y Legna. The event is free and everyone is welcome. For more specifics on the day’s schedule, go to www.peace2day.org. The hope is that this annual festival helps energize and provide more tools for building a future of equity and peace.
As for what that peace would look like, a 10-year old in England says it well. “Peace is really the playing and laughter of children, the babble of people saying freely what they think, and the scribble of pens, writing what the writers want to say. It is the music of people singing and dancing, people who have food, homes and love. It is people living without fear or lies.” Please join us May 19.