KFTC Blog

Poet Bianca Spriggs opens KFTC annual meeting

Posted by: By KFTC Staff on August 23, 2014

Affrilachian poet Bianca Spriggs opened KFTC’s annual meeting by sharing her work and talking with participants about the meaning of collaboration.

“I have been aware of KFTC since I was 18 years old and a freshman at Transylvania University,” said the Lexington-based poet. Spriggs said college was also when she discovered poetry.

She described two projects in which she has collaborated to give voice to women: The SwallowTale Project, a writing workshop with incarcerated women, and The Thirteen, a multimedia narrative about women who were lynched in Kentucky during post-Reconstruction.

Much of her work, Spriggs said, has been about excavating the complex back stories of black women in Kentucky.

Around 200 KFTC members gathered Friday, August 22, at General Butler State Park in Carrollton to spend the weekend discussing leadership development, grassroots organizing, collaboration, Kentucky issues and more. In between workshops, participants will visit, get reacquainted, enjoy the park and honor each other with awards for shared work.

Through the SwallowTale Project, Spriggs and her collaborators helped incarcerated women in Fayette County find their voices.

“Even in the most overwhelming of confines, everyone has a story to tell and it’s their right to tell it,” she told KFTC members.

The Thirteen is a narrative that attempts to give voice to 13 women and girls who were lynched or otherwise violently murdered in Kentucky between 1870 and 1908. “The dead remain among the living like drifters,” Spriggs said.

The Thirteen, which will be reprised for one night only on March 19, 2015, at Centre College, combines spoken word, music and a full gallery exhibition.

Following her presentation, Briggs talked with KFTC members about the creative process, collaboration and the responsibility of artists.

KFTC member Tanya Torp asked what is the artist’s responsibility outside of making art.

“I think every artist has a responsibility to not just notice but not ignore what they see when they see it,” Spriggs said. Artists can attend, organize and “hopefully find a way that their art can somehow contribute to that.”

Collaboration, Spriggs said, means learning humility. “There’s always something I can learn. Everybody is a teacher. … The person sitting in front of you is someone you can learn something from.”

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Wilderness Trace hosts a great Barn Bash, gears up for fall

Posted by: KFTC staff on August 21, 2014

With another summer comes another Wilderness Trace Barn Bash, and this year's was a hoot! On Saturday, July 12, the Wilderness Trace KFTC chapter hosted its second annual Barn Bash at Woodwind Farm in Junction City, where the music, weather, food, and company all made for a great combination to celebrate KFTC's work over the past year and to invite others to join in the fun of working for social change. 

Barn Bash 2014

People who came hungry were delighted to find a great assortment of dishes. Local food was front-and-center as all the meat at this year's event came from nearby Springfield producers, Rising Sons Beef and River Run Farm & Pottery. Providing quality local food at a low price to Barn Bash guests was made possible in large part to event sponsor, Stuart Powell. Members felt that showcasing local food fit in well with the chapter's values and hope to continue grilling local meat at future events.

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Transition Stories: Eastern Kentucky Social Club binds Lynch community

Posted by: KFTC Staff on August 14, 2014

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Jefferson County members talk tax reform with mayor

Posted by: Linda Stettenbenz on August 7, 2014

A small group of Jefferson County chapter members met with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer last month to find common ground about the need for revenue.

The meeting came about as a result of an encounter in March between KFTC members and the mayor in Frankfort. Members were in Frankfort for our Economic Justice Lobby Day to lift up the need for fair and adequate statewide tax reform; Mayor Fischer was seeking support for his local option sales tax initiative. KFTC decided to oppose the local option sales tax mostly because it takes more from the budgets of low-income people than from higher-income people.  There has also been concern that revenue from it would not be sustainable or flexible enough to meet community needs. 

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Louisville Metro Council unanimously passes resolution supporting Voting Rights Restoration in Kentucky

Posted by: Bonifacio Aleman on August 7, 2014

We Did It!!!

Louisville Metro Council once again made history last month by passing the Resolution supporting the Restoration of Voting Rights to Former Felons in Kentucky with a unanimous vote of 19-0!

Going into the July 24 Metro Council hearing, the Resolution had 11 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Once the Resolution was brought to the floor for discussion, five more Metro Council members (bi-partisan, again!) signed on as co-sponsors.  With no opposition on Metro Council, or from the chambers, the Resolution passed, with several Metro Council members going on record about why voting rights matter, and why this resolution is so important.

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Great food served up by Rowan members at music fest

Posted by: Annie Adams on August 2, 2014

The Rowan County Chapter held its annual fundraiser at the Old Time Music Festival, which took place at Jaycee Farm in Morehead on July 25 and 26. This was the fifth year the chapter worked the festival, and the fourth it served as the sole food vendor.

Rowan 2014 fundraiserThe chapter set up two food stations, a KFTC informational table with KFTC merchandise, and a spacious eating pavilion.

Ted Withrow oversaw the primary food station, which offered vegetarian and non-vegetarian soup beans and corn bread, hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches (with slaw), fried taters and fresh corn.

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Kentucky lawmaker praises EPA Clean Power Plan

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on July 31, 2014

Over the next few weeks we will share some of the powerful public statements made by Kentuckians to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the agency's proposed Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Below is testimony given at a hearing yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia by Joni Jenkins, who represents Kentucky's 44th House District in the state legislature.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.  My name is Joni Jenkins and I represent Kentucky House District 44 in the Kentucky General Assembly.  The 44th district is South of the Louisville, right on the banks of the Ohio River.

It is home to hard working, mostly blue collar, workers who strive everyday to raise their children for a brighter future. The 44th District is also home to 2 coal fired power plants with 2 coal ash landfills and coal ash ponds.  

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Kentuckians to EPA: Act on climate, protect health, support a Just Transition

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on July 30, 2014

Kentuckians in Atlanta for EPA climate hearing

Kentucky was well represented by grassroots voices at the first hearings held this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Forty citizens from Owensboro, Bowling Green, Louisville, Lexington, Morehead, Berea, Burnside, Inez, Hazard and Whitesburg made the long drive from Kentucky to Atlanta, Georgia on July 28-29 to urge the EPA to strengthen the draft power plant rules. In addition, a KFTC member from Harlan County spoke at the EPA hearing in Denver, Colorado, along with allies from other Central Appalachian states.

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KFTC will be pilot site with Climate Justice Alliance

Posted by: KFTC Staff on July 23, 2014


KFTC has signed on to become a pilot site for the Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of 40 organizations and networks working together to create a new analysis and a new “center of gravity” in the policy conversation about climate – informed by impacted communities.

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Rising Kentucky Voices: Coming Together for Tax Fairness

Posted by: Sarah Martin on July 17, 2014

Central KY Chapter Member Sarah Martin was among a group of folks with low-wage work experience who went to Washington, D.C. in April to lobby for closing corporate tax loopholes and raising the minimum wage. Right now, these corporate tax loopholes exist as the "tax extenders" that Sarah will reference in this blog. Congress isn't expected to act on these until after the election.

Corporate tax loopholes also exist as "inversions." (Hang in there, and remember, tax policies language is wonky to keep us away!) Those "inversions" recently allowed Pfizer to claim itself as a United Kingdom company, thereby avoiding paying taxes in the U.S. With that in mind, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and 13 Senate co-sponsors (including Sen. Elizabeth Warren), and Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) with nine House co-sponsors, introduced companion bills yesterday to close these “inversion” loopholes.
We hope to learn more, and track the involvement of Kentucky's delegation. In the meantime, check out Sarah's story about why she went to Washington, and why she'll go back.

It’s 8 AM on a Monday morning and as our bus creeps through D.C. traffic, CKY Chapter Member Greg Capillo, CKY Chapter Organizer Beth Howard, and myself have a quick breakfast. We think we are on our way to the White House to participate in a direct action regarding immigration reform and deportation policies. While that plan is true, there is a “quick” stop to make before we arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It turns out that we are on our way to a secret action. We are told to not broadcast any information on social media or to communicate with anyone what we’re doing until the action is complete. We are also told that when the buses arrive, we need to exit as quickly as possible, and that conference staff, in fluorescent vests, will direct us to run inside of the building to gather in the lobby.

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Louisville Housing Experiment

Posted by: Shavaun Evans on July 10, 2014

Think government-controlled experiments on our nation’s poor are a thing of the past?

Think again.

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