KFTC Blog

Participate in direct action at the RNC & DNC w/ KFTC next month in Cleveland and Philly!

Posted by: Carissa Lenfert on June 20, 2016

 

Kentuckians For the Commonwealth is sending three members to a series of actions at the Republican National Convention (RNC) and Democratic National Convention (DNC) next month. Our friends at Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) are organizing a delegation of folks from grassroots groups across the country to be at the RNC and DNC and help speak up for racial, environmental, and economic justice through a series of actions. The event is called "It Takes Roots to Change the System: The People's Caravan." It is a call to action to confront the moment we are in and stand united and strong together. If you are interested in being a part of The People's Caravan with KFTC, see below for more details and a link to apply.
 
DETAILS:  The event will be Wednesday, July 20th to Tuesday, July 26th. The trip would start in Cleveland, stop through Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and end in Philadelphia. Your transportation, food and lodging will be covered. However, GGJ is asking participants to raise $300 each to help cover the cost of the expenses. If selected in the KFTC delegation, KFTC will help you figure out a personal fundraising plan and work with you to try to meet your fundraising goal.
 
If interested, please apply by filling out this form by the end of the day this Wednesday, June 22nd. With only room for 3, spots are limited. KFTC’s Leadership Development Committee will review all applicants and select the delegation by this Friday, June 24th.
 
If you have any questions, please contact KFTC staffperson Carissa Lenfert at carissa@kftc.org.
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The Magic of the Open Mic Debates Series

Posted by: Kevin Cowherd on June 17, 2016

I know what you are thinking.

Our Work, In The Age of The Comment Section

Posted by: Tanya Torp, KFTC Vice Chairperson on June 8, 2016

No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren.

-Henry Taylor

My fingers were on the keyboard typing furiously. I would read a response, feel my blood pressure going up, and fire off another well thought out, reasoned, intelligent and passionate response to what I thought was ridiculous, reactionary, garbage. I was right. They were wrong. And, by golly, I was going to prove it.

But, after an hour, all I found was exhaustion, disappointment, anger and a feeling of hopelessness. How on earth had this conversation devolved into one of vitriol and fumes rather than substance and true discourse with someone I actually liked? Furthermore, how had I allowed myself to get to a point where I was staring at a screen, exasperated and sad, just plain sad, for the state of our world?

Bringing the budget home: Higher ed

Posted by: KFTC Staff on June 8, 2016

Kentucky’s state colleges and universities are reeling from Governor Matt Bevin’s unilaterally imposed 2 percent late fiscal year budget cut, and in the face of 4.5 percent budget cuts as of July 1, and another 4.5 percent cut again next year. (The state’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.)

Here are some impacts so far:

  • Morehead State University’s employees are on unpaid furlough for five days, and 65 positions have been cut.

  • The University of Kentucky is expecting to lay off 90 staff. UK also is rolling back its subsidies for county extension agents’ benefits. County governments, if they can, will be expected to make up the difference.  

  • Eastern Kentucky University is implanting a 5 percent tuition increase, a hiring freeze and reducing employee benefits.

  • Murray State University is eliminating 42 positions.

  • Northern Kentucky University is eliminating 105 positions.

  • And the Kentucky Community and Technical College system is losing 506 positions across the state.

Prisons won’t fuel innovation economy in eastern Kentucky

Posted by: Ada Smith on June 5, 2016

June 6 is the first Innovation Summit hosted by SOAR [Shaping Our Appalachian Region]. It’s a milestone for eastern Kentucky to have a state and federal platform that is focused on creative avenues for economic growth. In fact, innovation is the bedrock to our country’s 21st century economy and frankly eastern Kentucky has a lot to prove if we are to compete.

Support from the federal government has gone a long way in helping our region contribute to this country’s innovation boom. Unfortunately, that money has been slow in coming, or is being wasted on other things. For example, Congress, with the help of Congressman Hal Rogers, recently allocated $444 million to Letcher County – but the money won’t be spent on innovation or community-driven solutions. It will be spent on bringing a federal prison here.

Being an active bystander skill learned during a Green Dot training in Lexington

Posted by: Beth Howard on June 2, 2016

KFTC members learned about being an “active bystander” at a May 31 training the Central Kentucky KFTC Chapter sponsored with Green Dot Lexington.

“During the course of the evening, KFTC members enhanced their understanding of different intervention techniques that diffuse tension in potentially high-risk situations, and expanded their awareness on everyday ways they can advocate for community safety,” said Green Dot facilitator Meredith Swim.

Green Dot teaches that there are three ways to intervene in a violent situation – the Three Ds. The Three Ds are: direct, delegate and distract. Direct is directly engaging with the situation, but many of us might struggle to do that so we can also delegate to friends and family of the victim or the police. Or, we can create a distraction and de-escalate the situation.

Croeso i Seedtime! Celebrating Home & Global Community

From left: After Coal director Tom Hansel, DOVE Workshop Coordinator Lesley Smith, Tanya Turner, Elizabeth Sanders, and DOVE Workshop staff at the former coal board office turned women's education hub in Banwen, Neath, July 2015.
Posted by: Tanya Turner on June 1, 2016

This weekend we not only celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Seedtime on the Cumberland, we welcome (or croeso in Welsh) to Whitesburg, friends from very familiar looking communities in South Wales. Last summer my best friend Elizabeth and I had one of those rare, life-changing chances to visit another country, not as mere tourists, but as guests in the homes of musicians, artists, community leaders, and members of British Parliament. After days of travel on planes, trains, and buses from Whitesburg to Wales, we found ourselves rolling through hills that looked like home.

MaiFest Recap

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on May 23, 2016

 The Northern Kentucky KFTC chapter recently helped celebrate Maifest with the community by having a table in Mainstrasse! The yearly weekend long festival in Covington is often well attended, features booths from organizations and businesses from throughout the community, carnival rides for families, and music on four different stages.

The festival this year was scheduled the weekend before Kentucky’s primary election, and members saw it as a great place to meet people from throughout the region. The chapter passed out information about www.kentuckyelection.org to more than 200 voters! Members were excited to point to the fact that all 10 candidates for Covington City Commission and 4 candidates for Mayor of Covington responded to our survey, and to talk about various campaigns KFTC is working on statewide.

Many of the members who helped table had joined in the past 6 months and were excited to be able to speak to people in the community about the work the organization is doing. From voting rights, to tax reform, to clean energy, and more, it was a great opportunity for members to feel more comfortable talking about our organization.

Despite an uncharacteristically cold weekend, the chapter was able to recruit 10 new members, register a few voters, and help remind people about the election. With the success of this festival, the chapter is looking forward to similar opportunities on the horizon.

Jefferson chapter helping sponsor metro council candidate debates

Posted by: KFTC staff on May 2, 2016

The Jefferson County KFTC Chapter, Louisville Urban League Young Professionals, FORward Radio, Zones of Hope, Louisville Black Lawyers Association, University of Louisville’s Malcolm X Debate Team, HOPE by HOPE and several neighborhood associations will host the Open Mic Debate Series the week before the May 17 Primary Election.

These Metro Council candidate debates will take place with candidates in Metro Council Districts 2, 4 and 6.

The purpose of the Open Mic Debate Series is to improve voter turnout in Metro Council Districts 2, 4 and 6 by educating and empowering voters leading up to the May 2016 primary election.

Organizers were spurred to plan these events after the low voter turnout during the November 2015 general election. Candidates in all three districts have been invited to the debates and will be asked questions developed by KFTC and solicited from the audience during the events.

Rowan Earth Day activities create pipeline awareness

Posted by: Annie Adams on May 2, 2016

To commemorate Earth Day, the Rowan County KFTC Chapter created new opportunities to raise awareness of the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline Project, a.k.a. Kinder Morgan’s proposal to re-purpose the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry hazardous natural gas liquids (NGLs).

On Friday, April 22, chapter members set up a table outside of the Fuzzy Duck, a local coffee shop and bookstore in downtown Morehead, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. provided patrons and passers-by with information about the dangers of NGLs and the perils of repurposing a seventy year-old pipeline.

Those who stopped to talk were given helpful handouts and recent news articles on the re-purposing project as well as copies of Balancing the Scales and promotional materials for KFTC.

As luck would have it, one of the U.S. Senate candidates was stopping by the same business while on the campaign trail that Friday, so the chapter was able to speak to the local press covering the candidate’s visit.

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