My path towards understanding

Posted by: Megan McKinney on May 12, 2015

At its February meeting, the KFTC Steering Committee established a Racial Justice Ad Hoc Workteam whose purpose is to develop a workplan for educating members and chapters on racial justice issues this year. As part of its work, the Team hopes to have something in each issue of Balancing the Scales related to racial justice issues. Sometimes that might be an update on local work; sometimes it might be an educational/historical piece; sometimes it might be a personal reflection. This piece, originally printed in our April 2015 issue of Balancing the Scales, comes from Madison County member Megan McKinney.

While Kentucky certainly holds a special place in my heart, I’m actually a native Tennessean. As such, I often feel my heart swell with pride whenever I hear or see any reference to Memphis-style BBQ, a very bright shade of orange, or the great Dolly Parton. Sadly, I always seem to remember a bit of the bad, as well. Shortly after the Civil War, six Confederate veterans got together to create an organization to oppress African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan has become one of the most infamous hate groups in the entire world, and it was started in humble Pulaski, Tennessee. This history wasn’t actively taught when I was in secondary school. However, some of those same values were still evident. While I cannot remember any active racial violence, I can very clearly recall the prejudices and the hate-filled speech. I remember hearing my father frequently using the N-word. I recall how my mother would become obviously uncomfortable and mumble “that’s just not right” whenever she saw an interracial couple. Many years later, I can still easily count the number of non-white students in my grade in elementary school: three African-Americans, three Hispanics, no Asians.

Growing KFTC’s membership means growing our power in Kentucky

Posted by: Elizabeth Sanders on May 12, 2015

“What we do to the land, we do the people.” We hear this often in KFTC: in conversations, on posters, in our writing. So, it should follow that, if we aim to be good stewards of the land and the place in which we live, we must also work to be good stewards of the people. Fostering, protecting, caring, sustaining, growing…these are integral to doing the work that is building toward the world we want to see – the world described in KFTC’s vision where “…Kentuckians – and all people – enjoy a better quality of life.” That work can’t happen without the people. In this instance, I’m talking about KFTC members – past, present, and future.

We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 6, 2015

On March 20, 2015, the Jefferson County Chapter of KFTC (JCKFTC) hosted “We Are Kentuckians: Celebrating Our Common Heritage,” an event that honored the important but often unheard stories, culture, and heritage of Black Kentuckians. The celebration took place through art, music, poetry, and storytelling. During the evening program at the Clifton Center, Kentucky writers, musicians, and artists shared their work, personal stories and vision for Kentucky’s Bright Future.

KFTC members support the People’s Budget — a good benchmark

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 30, 2015

KFTC members from across the state told their Congressperson that they stand in support of the People’s Budget. This included policy supports for tax fairness such as the Estate Tax, so that as a country we can make investments in our nation’s bright future.

However, there is a sizeable gap between what these members and Kentuckians are calling for, and what Congress is so far delivering as the blueprint for tax and budget policies.  Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a repeal of the estate tax — an important safeguard against gross accumulations of wealth.  This repeal, if it were to pass both chambers and be signed into law, would be damaging to Kentucky.

Benham Power Board launches innovative residential energy efficiency program

Posted by: KFTC staff on April 24, 2015

Residents of the town of Benham in Harlan County, Kentucky will soon benefit from an innovative energy efficiency program, called Benham$aves, which was established today in a special called meeting held by the town’s municipally owned utility, the Benham Power Board. To celebrate the decision, all Benham residents are invited to a Community Pig Roast this evening at the Betty Howard Coal Miner’s Memorial Theater.

“This is something we’ve been working towards for a long time. It is exciting to see it come together,” said Danny Quillen, chair of the Benham Power Board. “This program can help individuals save money on their bills and help the whole community by lowering what the Benham Power Board pays to a wholesale energy provider for peak demand.”

The Benham$aves program will pay the upfront costs of insulation, upgrades to heating and air conditioning units, and other energy efficiency measures for qualifying customers who choose to participate. Residents will repay the investment over a 15-year period, using a portion of the energy savings. The program is designed to ensure that the monthly repayment is no more than 85% of the projected monthly savings, meaning that the retrofits pay for themselves over time and customers start saving money immediately, compared to their previous energy bills.

Raising the wage in Fayette County: what you need to know to get involved

Posted by: Beth Howard on April 10, 2015

The Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth wants Fayette County to raise the wage! CKY KFTC supports a Lexington Fayette Urban County Government ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Lexington to $10.10 per hour over a period of three years. Right now, the ordinance is in the Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee of the Lexington Fayette County Government. The next hearing is set for Tuesday, June 23rd at 1 p.m. at Council Chambers located at 200 E. Main Street. Supporters will rally before the meeting at 11 a.m. at the Courthouse Square in Lexington and walk to the meeting together. However, KFTC members, some members of the LFUCG Council, and allies are pushing for an earlier hearing and for the ordinance to be heard by the entire council by swiftly moving it out of the budget and finance committee.

Brooklyn sends love to the mountains

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 10, 2015


Shelby County KFTC Year of Community-Building

Posted by: Shane Ashford on April 6, 2015

Members from the Shelby Co. KFTC chapter will be kicking off their ‘Year of Community Building” this April. Just in time for Spring and Earth Day, the first event will be a film screening and discussion of Annie Leonard’s short film “The Story of Stuff”, a film “about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives.” 

KFTC asks for public hearings on Stream Protection rule

Posted by: KFTC staff on March 31, 2015

KFTC has asked the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for a series of public hearings in eastern Kentucky concerning that agency’s plans to propose a new Stream Protection Rule.

The letter, sent to Robert Evans, director of OSM’s Lexington office, asks for a “formal public hearing and public education event as part of the rule outreach strategy.

“In order to assure the best participation by impacted citizens, we request that the hearing be held in the evening if possible. We also suggest that the public education outreach occur before the actual hearing so that citizens will be better informed as to the actual contents of the proposed rule,” stated the letter from Joanne Golden Hill and Mary Love, co-chairs of KFTC’s Land Reform Committee.

Steering Committee commits to focus on stewardship, power

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 30, 2015

The KFTC Steering Committee kicked off its March 28 meeting by sharing stories and photos of some of the highlights of the first quarter of 2015. KFTC chapters and members were busy these last few months building power, pushing our issue campaigns, hosting events, and having fun.  Numerous activities were highlighted including the General Assembly lobby days, the voting rights vigils, the Madison County Pie Auction, Jefferson County’s We Are Kentuckians event, Growing Appalachia, a Showing Up for Racial Justice training and more.


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