Dear editor,

At the Aug. 23 Frankfort City Commission meeting, Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge attacked a citizen appointed to the Human Rights Commission (HRC). For an elected official, in a position that calls for integrity and compassion, to use their office for personal attacks is shocking.

In discussing the nomination, Waldridge said of Katima Smith-Willis, “it’s a beautiful horse, but it’s a wild horse at that, and I just don’t think right now it’s been tamed enough to represent our community as a whole.” The use of these words is not only degrading, but dangerous.

The history of dehumanizing language by government officials justifies violence and oppression. Waldridge questioned Smith-Willis’ ability to represent all of the community on the Human Rights Commission, and was more concerned about protecting law enforcement.

Waldridge seems confused on the role of the commission that addresses discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment. Nothing about the HRC conflicts with law enforcement. Questioning Smith-Willis’ ability to serve based on irrelevant factors is a crude personal attack. Frankfort deserves better.

I commend Mayor Layne Wilkerson in his choice to appoint a leader for human rights, like Smith-Willis. Together, Frankfort can move forward.

As Waldridge divides, disrespects and dehumanizes members of the community, mounts personal and irrelevant attacks and tries to exclude passionate qualified advocates from public positions, perhaps the next item on the agenda should be whether an elected official, who attacks the community they represent, is fit to stay in office?

Elizabeth Trebelhorn


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