KFTC celebrates 30 years of action for justice at historic birthday party
Hard work, friendship and giving voice to ordinary people were common themes as folks reminisced about the first 30 years of KFTC and dreamed about the next 30 at KFTC's birthday party August 27 at Cathedral Domain in Lee County.
Nearly 300 folks enjoyed a family-reunion-style picnic with music, story circles, swimming, games, a 30th anniversary film, and a square dance. Memories flowed as long-time friends described their connection to KFTC and the work they've done together to build a better Kentucky.
"KFTC showed me the way to become powerful through our many, many voices."
Folks remembered the successful 1988 Broad Form Deed campaign, which resulted in a constitutional amendment to protect landowners from strip mining. Through a statewide campaign, KFTC members mobilized voters across Kentucky, and the referendum passed in every county and garnered 82% of the vote.
"I remember that evening of the vote, a bunch of us were in Hindman watching the returns. As the evening went on, it just swept every county," said Letcher County member Sharman Chapman-Crane. "It was a David and Goliath story."
Ray Tucker, KFTC chairperson from 1992 to 1994, remembered when KFTC helped mobilize his community to protest a proposed landfill in Pulaski County. "They knew how to get us angry, unorganized citizens focused."
While reminiscing about their own involvement in KFTC, members also reflected on what KFTC has meant to Kentucky these past 30 years.
"We have a responsibility to serve our state in any capacity we can, and that's what KFTC has taught. If you work together to stop exploitation, then you've got an organization that has power. That's really what KFTC is about – empowering individuals," Tucker said.
Patty Wallace, chairperson from 1988 to 1990 put it more simply: "Stand up and tell 'em the truth."
Long-time members and newer members also talked about their hopes for the future.
John Rosenberg, who is credited with giving KFTC its first name, Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition, said KFTC still has much work to do: "We still aren't where we'd like to be if we want to stop mountaintop removal."
And Harrod expressed hope that new power is on the horizon: "We have to continue to try to move Kentucky into a whole new way of empowering our light switches and our people."