KFTC Blog

Elizabeth Wooten, early KFTC leader, has passed away

Posted by: KFTC staff on June 24, 2015

Elizabeth Wooten, a KFTC member who helped lead the campaign in the 1980s to do away with the broad form deed, died on Monday. She was 91.

Elizabeth and her family fought for many years to protect their land from the strip mining that was rampant in Perry County. The book Making History: The First Ten Years of KFTC, included the following description:

On December 3, 1983, dozens of KFTC members rallied near Bulan at the farm of Perry County widow Elizabeth Wooten … to express their opposition to broad form deeds and their resolve to fight as long as necessary to end their abuses. The Wooten farm lay like a near island, almost surrounded by oceans of strip-mined land. The family had been fighting in court for months to keep Marandco Coal, holder of a broad form deed, off the property, where Elizabeth’s husband was buried. “Before my husband died, he asked [the family] not to let them come on here and strip mine,” Wooten said. “And we’re going to honor that promise. What kind of people would we be if we didn’t?”

With Wooten among the movement’s leaders, KFTC members helped passed a law in the 1984 General Assembly that outlawed the abuses of the broad form deed (these were deeds signed in the late 1800s / early 1900s that severed the ownership of the minerals under the land from the ownership of the land itself; in the 1950s the Kentucky courts interpreted these deeds to allow the mineral owner to strip mine the land without the permission of the surface land owner, and with no obligation to compensate for the damages done).

Showing Up for Racial Justice calls, June 19 and June 23

Posted by: KFTC Staff on June 18, 2015

UPDATE, 6/18: SURJ IS HOSTING A CALL TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE ON THE GROUND IN CHARLESTON AND ACTIONS THAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN TAKE TO SUPPORT THEM AND BLACK COMMUNITIES RIGHT NOW. THE CALL IS FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 8:00 EASTERN. REGISTER HERE.

As our vision statement tells us, KFTC is “working for a day when Kentuckians – and all people – enjoy a better quality of life.” And for a day “when discrimination is wiped out of our laws, habits, and hearts.” Getting there requires that we commit to standing up against racism and oppression and encourage and equip our members to do the same.

With that in mind, we invite KFTC members and allies to participate in an upcoming conference call with SURJ—Showing Up for Racial Justice.

Challenge: Invite more torch bearers to join this movement

Posted by: Tanya Torp on June 16, 2015

I grew up on Air Force bases, crisscrossing this country like a new pair of shoelaces on an old pair of shoes – Tacoma, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and Hampton, Virginia, just to name a few.

No matter where we were in the world, whenever we went somewhere on a base, my father, a Flight Line Instructor and a gregarious man who never met a stranger, would strike up a conversation with a young airman, and before you knew it the young man was coming home with us for dinner. 

It used to drive me insane. One moment I am minding my own business in the commissary, trying to convince my dad to deviate from my mom’s stringent shopping list, to avoid the sensible oatmeal in exchange for the latest sugary cereal with coveted prizes swaddled somewhere, covertly, between the middle and the bottom of the box. Salivating, I could practically imagine the decadence my deprived taste buds would experience the following morning. The next moment, Dad, with his brown eagle eyes and easy inviting smile, was adding 25 to 45 minutes to our “quick” shopping trip because some guy was homesick, and he knew my mom would make room for this stranger at our dinner table.

We Are Kentuckians member exchange

Posted by: KFTC Staff on June 15, 2015

To cultivate relationships between Jefferson County and southeast Kentucky KFTC members and facilitate a knowledge exchange around local organizing work, 15 Jefferson County KFTC members (JCKFTC) traveled to southeast Kentucky during Memorial Day weekend for the We Are Kentuckians KFTC Member Exchange. The exchange was also an opportunity for JCKFTC members to build on the momentum of the chapter’s 2nd Annual We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage. This March event honored the important but often unheard stories, culture, and heritage of Black Kentuckians through art, music, poetry, and storytelling.

Members were excited to visit the Eastern Kentucky Social club, a 45-year-old Black social club for residents and former residents of Harlan County, Kentucky. The club has chapters across the country, and the Harlan County chapter hosts other chapters every Memorial Day weekend in Lynch. During the trip Jefferson County exchanged experiences with Harlan County members about KFTC canvassing projects in Smoketown (Louisville) and Benham (Harlan County) and enjoyed a potluck dinner and dialogue with members of the Letcher County Chapter.

Lexington needs a raise! Members organize for wage increase

Posted by: KFTC staff on June 15, 2015

Raise the Wage rally

Lexington Fayette County Urban Government is considering raising the minimum wage and the Central Kentucky KFTC Chapter has been hard at work moving the campaign forward. 

The ordinance being considered would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for hourly employees and $3.09 for tipped workers. Both rates of pay would be increased over a period of three years. 

After three years, the minimum wage rate would be tied to inflation. 

Showing Up For Racial Justice

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 20, 2015

As our vision statement tells us, KFTC is “working for a day when Kentuckians – and all people – enjoy a better quality of life.” And for a day “when discrimination is wiped out of our laws, habits, and hearts.” Getting there requires that we commit to standing up against racism and oppression and encourage and equip our members to do the same.

With that in mind, we invite KFTC members and allies to participate in an upcoming conference call with SURJ—Showing Up for Racial Justice.

KFTC members attend the Populism 2015 conference in Washington, D.C.

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on May 18, 2015

KFTC members Sarah Thomas, K.A. Owens, and Serena Owen in Washington D.C. for the Populism 2015 conference. Members from Jefferson County, Northern Kentucky, and Central Kentucky recently traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in Populism 2015, a conference organized by National People’s Action (NPA), Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society, and USAction. The conference was a gathering of grassroots organizers, activists, and leaders “committed to building a new, multiracial populist movement to transform our country.”

Steering Committee looks at intersection of Economic Justice and Racial Justice, prepares for ramped-up tax justice campaign

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 18, 2015

“Obviously there’s a connection between poverty and racism. In our work, there has to be a connection. If we address economic injustice but not racial injustice, we aren’t finished with our work,” noted Meta Mendel-Reyes of Madison County as the KFTC Steering Committee opened its spring retreat.

The Steering Committee gathered May 15 and 16 in Bowling Green to explore the intersectionality of economic justice and racial justice. The workshop built toward a discussion of KFTC’s campaign for progressive state tax reform and ways to ramp up and build public support for that campaign.

Lamar Keys, former KFTC chair and leader, passes away

Posted by: KFTC staff on May 16, 2015

Lamar Keys, KFTC’s chairperson from 2000 to 2002, passed away earlier this week after a bout with cancer. He was only 61 and is survived by Darlene, his wife, and two grown children.

At the time, Lamar represented a growing KFTC presence in western Kentucky. He was a leader in the newly formed Union County chapter, and an active church and civic leader in Morganfield.

Apply to attend 7-day training with Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition!

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on May 15, 2015

Are you a young person (under 30) interested in building a diverse, powerful, youth-led environmental movement in Kentucky? Or do you know folks who fit that description? If so, check out this awesome opportunity to attend an 7-day intensive leadership development camp hosted by the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.

The training program, called Catalyst, will take place July 26-August 2 at the Life Adventure Center in Versailles, Kentucky. Participants will learn skills to launch and sustain effective campaigns for change on their campuses and in their communities. The program will maintain an emphasis on anti-oppression, inclusion, and relationship-building for the long-haul.

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