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 put first as we go about building a new economy.

For Kimberly Shepherd, it’s about her daughter and her future. She is working toward a just economic transition so she can keep her family in the mountains.

“The solution is complicated. I don't think that there's one thing that can fix it, it'll take a lot of different things. But the resource we really have in Harlan County is our people and community,” said the Harlan County student and mother.

“I think we're all probably working for the same thing – a life for our families. And we owe it to coal miners lost to fight for something better for their kids and their land,” she added.


KFTC's Just Transition Framework

Kentucky Events

Berea: Gather on the lawn of the Kentucky-Talcott dorms on the Berea College campus at 11:30 a.m. for a march that will end with a festival on the Quad.

Lexington: Gather at Triangle Park (400 W. Main St.) and march down Main Street to the Courthouse Plaza where there will be a rally. More info.

Louisville: Gather at Louisville Memorial Park (971 S. Fourth St.) at 12 noon for a rally, speakers and music. More info.

Cincinnati: Gather at 12 noon at Theodore M Berry International Friendship Park. More info.

Social Media

Follow what’s happening in New York at

Twitter: #PeoplesClimate

Facebook: Our Power Campaign

Shepherd, Stanley Sturgill from Lynch and other members of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth from throughout the state will participate in the People’s Climate March on Sunday. The march comes as world leaders gather next week at the United Nations to address global warming pollution.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to rally to demand that world leaders take action to move to a Just Transition that will create millions of meaningful jobs by building the infrastructure to address the climate crisis from clean community power, local food systems and energy-efficient housing.

For Sturgill, his participation also is about family.

"I love my family and am going to the march to let them know that I know I’m old, but I also see a nation of young people and want to give them a future of a safe environment," said Sturgill, retired after 41 years as an underground coal miner and mine inspector.

“I know there is, indeed, global warming. But, I also see that things can be changed. I see that we do not have to destroy our world. I will fight against the destructive methods of mining and fracking until I die in order to have a healthy, safe, environment for my family and all the future generations after I’m gone."

KFTC members in Harlan County and eastern Kentucky have been pushing for a Just Transition for years. In April 2013, they held the first Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in Harlan that brought more than 200 people together to begin developing a shared vision for the next economy in Appalachia.

And this past weekend KFTC sponsored a followup event that showcased efforts in Harlan and Letcher counties already underway to build a strong local economy in the mountains and make communities here great places to live.

KFTC’s transition efforts are guided by several principles: inclusion, participation and collaboration; innovation and self-reliance; good, stable, meaningful jobs; broad access to opportunities; and improved quality of life, among others.

They are encouraging elected leaders to commit to a longer-term and “inclusive public planning process aimed at shaping a shared vision and identifying key strategies.”

“Everyone is going to have to realize we’re going to have to change,” said Sturgill, who will be one of three national speakers at a press conference Sunday in New York. “If we want to get an economy back anywhere near like it once was, we’re going to make some change. We’re going to have to look at something new.”

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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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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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