KFTC Blog

Stanley Sturgill's press statement at the People's Climate March

Posted by: KFTC staff on September 21, 2014

KFTC member Stanley Sturgill was one of the speakers representing frontline communities who spoke today at a press conference kicking off the People's Climate March in New York City. Here is his statement:


Hello. My name is Stanley Sturgill. I’m a 69 year-old retired coal miner from Lynch in southeast Kentucky. I worked underground for 41 years and I have black lung disease. I’m actually having a hard time breathing just to get to this stage.


My wife and I love where we live at the foot of Black Mountain, the highest and one of the most beautiful mountains in the state.


I am marching today because I want to build a bright future for my family, for Appalachia, and for this world. I have a vision where my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren can have good jobs that support our families without doing damage to our water, air, land and climate.


But this future is uncertain. In eastern Kentucky we have been suffering the early effects of climate change for more than a hundred years. We have dug the coal that has generated the electricity that has powered this country. But we’ve paid in miles of destroyed streams, in our health, and in our declining economy, including thousands of jobs lost in recent months.


I am here because our political leadership has failed us. In Kentucky, they have allowed the coal companies to blow up our mountains, and destroy our rivers and streams. I am here to call on them and on our world leaders to hear that those of us at the frontlines of the crisis are at the forefront of change.


It’s not going to be an easy task, but we believe we can do this. We are already working to build a just economic transition. One good example is my neighbors in Benham, Kentucky. They are helping people insulate and tighten up their 100 year old coal camp homes, and save money, and create good jobs that can’t be outsourced.


We know that together we can build our bright future. I hope that’s why you’re here. I know that’s why I’m here. And as we lead the way, we demand that ALL of our leaders start looking beyond coal and start representing the people that elected them to office and not corporations that they’ve allowed to own them.


Join us now and never forget: We are our own best hope for change.

Watch live what's happening in New York HERE.

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Kentuckians taking a Just Transition message to People’s Climate March

Posted by: KFTC staff on September 20, 2014

Eastern Kentuckians participating in this weekend’s Peoples Climate March in New York City are carrying a clear message: We are at the forefront of the transition away from coal and we need to be

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ABF 2.0 brings together diverse group to sample, dream for the region

Posted by: By KFTC Staff on September 15, 2014

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Massey, Sturgill honored as Appalachian Heroes

Posted by: KFTC staff on September 15, 2014

Two long-time KFTC members have been honored by the Appalachian Community Fund as Eastern Kentucky Appalachian Heroes.

About 80 people gathered on Friday, September 12, at the Eastern Kentucky Social Club in Lynch to honor Bennie Massey and Stanley Sturgill for their contributions to their community.

Both Sturgill and Massey live in Lynch and have been instrumental in efforts to protect their community from the impacts of coal mining and build a brighter future in the mountains. They are long-time members of the Harlan County chapter and have given their time and energy to other KFTC campaigns both inside and outside their region.

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State’s new general permits for coal mining mean five more years of polluted streams

Posted by: KFTC staff on September 5, 2014

The Beshear administration this week issued two new general permits for coal facilities that fail to fully address the ongoing and substantial harm to humans and aquatic life from polluted mine wa

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Annual membership meeting focuses on grassroots leadership

Posted by: By KFTC Staff on August 25, 2014

One of KFTC’s goals of organizing is to have fun, and members proved they know how to do that at KFTC’s 2014 annual membership meeting, even as they took a serious look at Kentucky issues and the role of grassroots leadership.

About 200 KFTC members came together August 22-24 at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton around the theme “From the Grassroots to the Mountaintop: Empowering Grassroots Leaders.” Woven with many conversations both structured and informal about Kentucky issues were discussions about grassroots leadership – what it looks like, who’s a leader, how leaders become leaders and how grassroots leadership development can change the world.

In between serious conversations, members found time to hug old friends and meet new ones, honor each other for work well done at Saturday’s awards banquet, share their talents at a cultural sharing showcase, and show off their moves at a dance party. The crowd for the annual meeting was one of the youngest and most diverse in KFTC’s history, with many first-time attendees.

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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.

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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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