KFTC Blog

Reflecting on the 2018 Organizing Academy

Posted by: Fannie Madden-Grider on July 19, 2018

I want to thank KFTC for helping my husband Alvin and me keep the despair and darkness away during the last year. Last night marked our first anniversary with the Rowan County chapter.  Although we joined in April at an event in Lexington, our first meeting locally was the 2017 annual meeting. 

We recruited four more members by September, all of whom have been active on the Democracy Team. All of us except Alvin, who will soon begin working full-time with KFTC through December, have signed up to serve on local and state-wide committees. Alvin brought a new member to the annual meeting last night, and a couple more college students are going to other chapters back home this summer, then coming to the Rowan chapter in the fall as new members. 

So, despite our inability to reproduce ourselves in the form of human babies, we have reproduced ourselves in grown human activists by a factor of 6 or 7 in the last year. We are both in our 60s now and did it without reproductive technology. Our goal is to continue reproducing ourselves by at least 2 annually, but hopefully another half dozen. Imagine the making of love that goes into so much reproduction. 

When we are too old or crippled or ill to carry on, or are dead, there will be enough to carry on for us and do our part. We are MoveOn volunteers, too, and although the work is important and satisfying, it is much better to have real humans you can sit with, not just visit on a screen. 

I remember the dark days in the three months after the 2016 election.  My initial reaction was to "blow up (my) TV, throw away (my) paper, move to the 

country . . ." and talk only to cats for the rest of my life. But something inside me wouldn't let me do that. After connecting with MoveOn and Indivisible, I kept having an image of me on a dark stage, pulling the heavy curtain aside just a crack, and seeing a bit of light from the footlights. With more like-minded folks on the cast and crew — not to mention the patrons whose generous support would make the work easier — I could open the curtains wider and wider, I thought, coming out of the darkness all together. 

Local KFTC members, apprentices Jonah Cabiles, Nikita Perumal and Angel Hill, KFTC staffers Beth Howard, Megan E. Murph and Sasha Zaring, volunteer-member Meta Mendel-Reyes, and all the wonderful people in the Organizing Academy — from a 7th grader and a high school student to college students and recent grads to adults much younger than us — have helped me open the curtains wider and wider. 

I am confident that, even if I am not around to see it happen, eventually KFTC will tug and pull and maybe even cut it into pieces if necessary until those curtains are flung wide open. Then, all of us waiting on a dark stage for the play to begin – a play about an America where all of us are treated fairly and given a seat at the table of American abundance and privilege -- can step into the light and begin Act 1. 

Until then, it is way less scary to have you all hanging out with me in the darkness, peeking out at the light, and having a brilliant time rehearsing, practicing lines and building the set for the play. 

Thank you all for auditioning, practicing, rehearsing and for being co-directors with us during the last year of KFTC life and the 6-month Organizing Academy. I hope to connect with you all in the sequel.

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The Fierce Urgency of Now

Posted by: Caraline Feairheller on July 16, 2018

“Somebody’s hurting my brother
and it’s gone on far too long (Yes, it’s gone on far too long)
and we won’t be silent anymore

Stanley Sturgill tells congressional hearing of attacks on coal miners

Posted by: KFTC staff on July 5, 2018

In June, Harlan County KFTC member Stanley Sturgill spoke at a congressional forum about poverty hosted by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep Elijah Cummings and coordinated with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Love and Acceptance

Kimmy Sandlin and Mari Froude pose before the 2nd Annual NKY Pride Parade!
Posted by: Kimmy Sandlin on July 2, 2018

On June 10, 2018 I had the privilege to march in the Northern Kentucky Pride Parade. I marched with the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Northern Kentucky chapter. I am currently interning with KFTC with Joe Gallenstein as my supervisor. My friend, Mari, had stayed over the night before so we could wake up early to prepare. We were both so excited to go to the parade and to support the LGBTQ+ community. We woke up early that morning to meet Joe at Roebling Point Books and Coffee where we started our day with a cup of coffee and donuts. I had been sick for the past week, and wasn’t sure I’d have the energy needed to participate. That doubt disappeared once we walked over to our spot in the parade and waited for the parade to start.

While waiting I could already feel how important it is for our communities to show support. I could feel all the love and acceptance as I spoke with others participating in the parade. We talked about issues that were close to our hearts, and how we plan to achieve our goals. Once the parade started, I was happy to see people from our communities showing their support and I enjoyed seeing how happy the children were to catch pieces of candy. Being a part of all the love was enlightening.  Music played, people danced and sang. Despite being exhausted from my cold, my friend and I, danced and sang along as well. Being goofy and jumping around was so much fun and being a part of the parade has been a highlight of my summer. Although, we should not limit support for the LGBTQ+ community to just one month, I am very excited to have been a part of the Pride Parade this year and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

KFTC members attend Families Belong Together Rally!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 15, 2018

The Northern Kentucky chapter of KFTC joined Northern Kentucky Justice and Peace Committee, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, Northern Kentucky Indivisible and Together We Will - Cincinnati for a rally on the Roebling Bridge on June 14 to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating families.

The event, which was scheduled to be a part of events taking place nationwide, gained more attention closer to the action locally based on news reports of a plan to build 'tent cities' to house children (both unaccompanied minors and those separated from their families by the Department of Homeland Security) and the conditions inside of other holding facilities. Those in attendance chanted slogans offering support for families directly and indirectly impacted by the new heinous policy.

America, Our Lives Are on the Line

Posted by: Mikaela Curry on June 7, 2018

AMERICA, OUR LIVES ARE ON THE LINE
Mikaela Curry

SOKY members work hard to build power for Tuesday's primary election

Posted by: the Southern Kentucky Chapter on May 17, 2018

The Southern Kentucky chapter has been hard at work preparing for the May 22 primary elections and building the grassroots power we will need for November.

Electing Empathy Through Informed Choices: Robin Gilbert reflects on SOKY chapter's Congressional candidate forum

Posted by: Robin Gilbert on May 16, 2018

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth has been an important part of my political journey. The most recent opportunity I’ve had through KFTC was to ask a question directly to the congressional candidates for House District 2 at the Southern Kentucky Chapter’s Candidate Forum on April 24. I took the opportunity to address opioid addiction, a topic that touches so many other issues, including health care and mental health, the economy, incarceration, and much more.

I never considered myself a really political person in the past. Growing up in New York City, I was aware of headlines and a general sense of local and world events. One family tradition was reading the New York Times every Sunday. I skimmed the front page and devoured the styles and book review sections. After major events like the beginning of the Iraq war and 9/11, I paid a little closer attention. I always voted.

It was when Donald Trump was the Republican nominee that I began what is now an obsession with politics. I have been a Kentuckian for 6 years. I love Bowling Green for its diversity and the kindness of the people I have met. I have never been on Facebook much, and have a general distrust of social media, but in February 2017 I signed on to Twitter. How much trouble could 140 characters bring?

Housing conference inspires and motivates SOKY member

Posted by: Samantha Johnson on May 15, 2018

Would you like to know how to get motivated and have a fire set in your soul? Spend a weekend with the people that make up the Homes for All South group.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to represent KFTC at the Homes For All South conference in Nashville, TN May 4-6. The weekend was full of activities, workshops and sessions that were energetic, inspiring and motivating.

Housing is a human right many people struggle with and fight for every day and sadly, many people have a fight they cannot win alone. Homes for All is made up of individuals from many organizations all across the south. They help people in their fight, as a collective group. Throughout the weekend, we were able to share our own work, pick the brains of those doing amazing projects across the region and take away ideas, resources and a sense of satisfaction for the work we do.

Pie-in-the-Sky fundraising in Madison County

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on May 14, 2018

On a spring evening in May, those hungry for New Power as well as pie gathered in a small church gymnasium. Eight years ago, local KFTC members, confident and proud of their baking skills, started this tradition of donating pies to auction in support of KFTC’s work. This year, the prospect of a $100,000 matching grant provided additional motivation for expanding the reach of the chapter’s efforts.

The evening began with a welcome from Teri Blanton, a long-time member who hosted and auctioned the pies. To start things off in a warm, family atmosphere, members led the children in a pie auction of their own in addition to a singalong led by local musician Sam Gleaves.

CKY Chapter Leader Sarah Bowling shares her KFTC story

Posted by: Sarah Bowling on May 7, 2018

Help me CELEBRATE my graduation -- DONATE to KFTC!!    

If you are reading this, then you may know me.  You probably know that I am politically active. And you most likely know that I am a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. What you might not know is why.  

I grew up in Central Appalachia in a town built on coal. Both sides of my family worked in and around the business. I even had “Coal Keeps the Lights On” paraphernalia.

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