KFTC Blog

Singing for Democracy from Lexington to Lynch

Posted by: Tanya Turner & Beth Howard on November 15, 2013

CKY Singing for Democracy We didn’t go to the polls this year, but KFTC members are building a better Democracy and New Power everyday. To keep Democracy alive in November, hundreds of KFTC members gathered in kitchens, living rooms, churches, and community centers to celebrate, vision, and build toward the Kentucky we all deserve. Among the nearly 50 events that occurred on Tuesday November 5th, were at least a couple that really made some noise in celebration and song.

‘Singing for Democracy’ events have become a tradition of the campaign to restore voting rights to former felons in our Commonwealth. So on (no) election day, communities in Lexington and Lynch gathered to sing out in praise and celebration for Voting Rights and Democracy! 

Presentation of Appreciation to City CouncilsIn the coal camp town of Lynch in Harlan County, over 30 people gathered in the Eastern Kentucky Social Club for food, fellowship, and three musical performances by their neighbors and friends. Between music, KFTC members shared stories of local work to build up their home communities through energy efficiency and generation, as well as plans for the road ahead to restore voting rights to nearly 250,000 former felons in 2014. City Council members, mayors, clerks and neighbors spent the evening together, celebrating and building toward a healthier Democracy at home and across Kentucky. The evening’s performers included Stanley Sturgill, Erica Eldridge, and the Mt. Sinai Spirituals, all of Lynch. Rutland Melton, of Lynch, presented Benham and Lynch City Councils with certificates of appreciation for their work with the Harlan Co. chapter to get energy upgrades on homes and city buildings in both towns. 

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Blue Morals

Posted by: Megan Casey on November 14, 2013

I remember one day I walked into my home after school, my father was in tears and had not yet broken his fast. After I succeeded in convincing him to eat, he requested that I listen in private and so I did. My father could see the challenging future I was about to face, yet how could I know when I was barely nineteen years of age? He recommended that I hold on to courage and faith, and that I remember the strength of those whom I might or should leave behind, wisdom in choices, justice in actions, and if I speak let it be the truth even if it leads to an unpleasant ending. My siblings and I may have not had the greatest childhood, but we had the greatest father, a warrior, and a mother that did better than her best to ensure our safe survival.  

We experienced serious issues and shortages with water. My mother was one of the hundreds of women who traveled miles searching for a source of water, but how much can one woman carry this burden across many miles through cold and heat? She must have ignored her pain to protect us, her needs to provide for us, her own sufferings to ensure our survival, and she must have lost the feeling of life just to see us prosper of ours.

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Rowan County members organize large turnout for Fairness ordinance hearing

Posted by: Annie Adams on November 13, 2013

Members pack the council meeting room

Members of the Rowan County Chapter of KFTC helped organize the record turn out for the first reading of the proposed Fairness Ordinance at the Morehead City Council meeting on Monday, November 11.  

Morehead State University President Dr. Wayne Andrews, who had been in contact with the Rowan chapter regarding the proposed ordinance, spoke eloquently for its need and thanked the council for its work in this matter.  Individual council members voiced their commitment to Fairness, and thanked members of the community for coordinating such an impressive show of support, before unanimously voting to approve the first reading. 

The ordinance will have its second reading at the council’s December meeting. If the second reading passes and the ordinance becomes law, Morehead will become the sixth city in Kentucky have a Fairness Ordinance on the books.

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Shelby County KFTC members help Light Up Shelbyville!

Posted by: Lisa Aug on November 12, 2013

There's nothing like free sweets and warm drinks on a cool day to draw the crowd to your table.

Shelby KFTC and Fairness Shelbyville offered cookies, brownies, cupcakes and hot cider at Light Up Shelbyville October 10.  Refreshments gave us a chance to invite people to our monthly meeting; offer brochures and flyers about Kynect, reforming Shelby Energy, fighting the Bluegrass Pipeline and passing a Fairness Ordinance, and promote our Nov. 21 Chili Supper fundraiser.

Light Up ShelbvyilleWe introduced ourselves to a lot of people who did not know about us, distributed dozens of Kynect tote bags with flyers on signing up for insurance and gave membership and meeting information to a number of people who expressed interest in joining KFTC.

It was our most successful tabling event to date, and we are looking forward to making the next one even better.

Members Ann Ellerkamp, Jane Thomas, Leslie McBride and Lisa Aug provided refreshments, and Patrick King, Cynthia Dare and Chris Hartman provided materials and support.

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Central Kentucky KFTC engages in local work: First District residents speak with Councilman Chris Ford

Posted by: Janet Tucker on November 8, 2013

On September 30 a Townhall Meeting was held at Embrace Church in Lexington. There, residents of the First City Council District met and held a discussion with First District Councilman Chris Ford. The First District is in North Lexington and is historically a low income and largely a community of color. It was a broad and far ranging discussion with a number of concerns raised. Councilman Ford attentively listened and responded where he could. “I don't ever forget that I represent you,” he told residents.Chris Ford

Multiple issues and concerns were raised but the question of affordable housing figured prominently. There was also discussion on the revitalization of the community. While the revitalization has been good in a number ways as we see housing being repaired and new business coming in. It has also been a problem with low-income residents of the community being forced out. Some women from the apartment complex at 468 N. Limestone Street said they are being forced to move. The apartments are being remodeled, and rented out at a higher rate. Residents also talked about zoning issues, speed bumps, sidewalks and public safety.

At the meeting the residents also heard from Raymond Sexton, executive director of Lexington Human Rights Commission. He reported on a recent study the HRC, State of Fair and Affordable Housing Report for  Lexington-Fayettee County. Sexton stated, “We must do something about these problems, but they run deep. We need to address the root problem but also need to address the symptoms.”

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Faith communities say No to the proposed hazardous liquids pipeline

Posted by: KFTC on November 7, 2013

Members of Kentucky’s faith communities brought the support of thousands of their fellow believers during an event at the capitol on Tuesday, focused on stopping a proposed hazardous liquids pipeline.

“When people of faith around the country learned of our efforts here to care for Kentucky’s people, land, water and heritage and oppose this dangerous hazardous liquids pipeline, they responded in large numbers,” explained Rev. Cynthia Cain, a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church.

“More than 36,000 of our sisters and brothers in Kentucky and across the nation signed a petition from Faithful America asking Governor Beshear to share our love for our land and help us protect it from this proposed and unwanted pipeline.”

Rev. David Whitlock of the Lebanon Baptist Church acknowledged that, “For too long too many of us have stepped aside and [let corporations rule]. We are simply here to say enough is enough. It’s time for a change. The stakes are high."

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Senator Carpenter visits Madison County chapter

Posted by: Cory Lowery on November 3, 2013

Last Monday, October 28, the Madison County chapter invited state senator Jared Carpenter to Berea for a lobby meeting, where the senator and KFTC members discussed the upcoming legislative session, including the possibility of Carpenter’s support for KFTC legislative priorities. The meeting began with a brief talk by Carpenter about his own legislative priorities, which included encouraging the growth of industry and infrastructure in Madison County and stopping the heroin trade in Kentucky, which he believed could be done with “tougher punishments for the folks producing and selling heroin.”

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Unsafe roads: another of the True Costs of Coal

Posted by: KFTC on October 31, 2013

A state highway is getting cleaned up this week after a KFTC member got tired of waiting for the coal company to clean up its messes, and for any state mining official to force them to do so.

A portion of Route 7 in the Deane community in Letcher County was covered with muck last week, tracked onto the highway by coal trucks running from a strip mine to a nearby tipple.

The muck – a combination of mud from the mining operation combined with coal dust turned to sludge – was so bad in spots that the yellow center line could not been seen.

“I hit my brakes and it was like black ice,” said KFTC member Chris Yonts who lives in the area. “There was a good inch and a half packed on the road. I’d never seen mud that slick. I’m afraid someone is going to get hurt. I don’t see how they get away with it.”

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Getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Leslie McBride on October 29, 2013

Shelby County KFTC member Leslie McBride wanted to help get the word out to people in her community about signing up for the Affordable Care Act.  After being turned down by several grocery stores management to have an official table in front of the store, Leslie decided to just take large stacks of handouts and a clipboard to the parking lots of those stores.  Below is what she wrote about the experience.

"A couple of weekends ago, I handed out information about the Affordable Care Act to people in parking lots in Shelbyville. Nine out of ten people wanted the information; they were hungry for it, even though it was pouring down rain for the last half hour. I heard powerful stories of people who needed healthcare, whose children needed healthcare, who had been to the library to connect to the kynect link. People of all races, ages and walks of life approached me. I gave out everything I had, and could have given out ten times as much. People need this, and I urge everyone to support this movement." 

Click here for a link to the Kynect fact sheets that you can download and print from home and handout to your neighbors as well!

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Public officials welcome to the conversation about a just transition in Appalachia

Posted by: KFTC on October 29, 2013

KFTC members welcomed Monday’s announcement by Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and others about a public process to gather and share ideas about ways to build a healthy, diverse economy in eastern Kentucky.

“I’m really excited,” said Letcher County KFTC member Elizabeth Sanders. “These elected leaders now appear to be whole-heartedly joining the conversation that is already alive in this region. That’s a welcome step that we haven’t seen in recent years. I’m glad they are calling for genuine involvement and collaboration with people living in southeastern Kentucky, and anyone with an interest in moving this part of the state forward.”
 


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