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Reflections from an Organizer Apprentice: Party on the River in Hart County

Posted by: Alexa Hatcher on June 20, 2019

            Members in Hart County attended a Party on the River last weekend at Thelma Stovall Park in Munfordville, KY. While enjoying burgers and the beautiful, summer weather, folks reminisced about lobbying efforts to protect our water, soil and air in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It was during that time that a proposal to turn the historic Aetna Furnace into a landfill was threatening Rio Springs and the Green River in Hart County. Thanks to their hard work the proposal was stopped. 

             I am from Hart County and was born in 1988, around the time that this landfill proposal was defeated. It occurred to me while I was listening to members talk about their activism that I could have had a childhood filled with health problems created by the landfill and incineration of garbage like so many people in our state and the world. If this landfill project had been completed, our water would’ve been poisoned and growing up on the Green River wouldn’t have been as happy as it was. Instead it is among the most biologically diverse rivers in the country. If the project had been completed, our soil and air would’ve been contaminated. Instead I breathed fresh air, and enjoyed food grown in our family’s garden. If not for the hard work by the members who cared about generations to come, I would have grown up in a much different environment. I am thankful for this hard work. 

            As an organizer apprentice for the southern Kentucky chapter, I found organizing in Hart County to be both a challenge and a blessing. I found it challenging to describe our organization to folks who do not know who Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is, and may or may not be trusting of a progressive non-profit who does voter work. Some of my friends and family do not totally align with our values, so managing their concerns and questions about those values isn’t always easy. But it’s so worth it. For instance, some members who attended the party affiliated with Republican values, but also are strong supporters of unions and worker’s rights. 

            An ongoing challenge for me is to manage my own relationship to the issues that affect us and use it as strength and a driving force in my work. Organizing in Hart County brings up the fact that my family is struggling just down the road. I am organizing because of the struggles they and so many of us go through for reasons that we cannot help. I am in this because grassroots organizing is the way that gain the power to overcome poverty, systemic racism, attacks on our public resources that are vital to our livelihood and other forms of institutional violence. But at the same time, in real life, many people are unable to fight this battle. Like my Mamaw and Papaw who couldn’t attend the party because they have to worry about getting through the day. Everyday. Doing this work is a privilege. It’s sacred. 

            Looking back, now that the party has come and gone, there are many things I recognize that I can learn from and take forward with me in my organizing work in rural areas. I am so grateful for Jarrett Cox, of Cub Run, KY, who put in lots of time and energy to gather some of the first ever KFTC members and folks who are interested in our work. His dedication to this gathering was unwavering, despite having to reschedule because of stormy weather and difficulty in finding a venue. Jarrett truly believes in the power of people and our work together on this party on the river has sparked a resurgence of grassroots efforts in Hart County. Without Jarrett, this party would have not been as beautiful and powerful. 

            I learned that rural organizing takes more time, more energy, and the gifts that result from it look different than in Bowling Green where I do most organizing work. There are less people in Hart County who have the ability to show up in this way. There were twelve people who attended the Party on the River and I am very happy about that, but we planned for thirty. I learned through this that twelve people is actually a nice turnout! The conversations were empowering, hopeful, and lovely. 

            I learned that showing up exactly as we come is okay. Being heartbroken for our shared struggles, angry at the people in our government who seek to hurt us and corporations who choose profit over people, hopeful for a brighter and healthier future, and thankful for the resilience of our elders, can and must all happen in the same space in time. We also have to build where we can with each other and assume the best intentions even when our values don’t align perfectly. We all need to continue making room for growth and nurturing that in others with patience, kindness, and an understanding that we are all fighting for the same thing and against the same thing in this work. We have to celebrate and appreciate the unique offerings each of us bring with us and not give up on each other when we just don’t have anything to give. 

            It is exciting to imagine what further grassroots organizing looks like in Hart County and the people who attended the party are committed to it. So am I. Judy Petersen and Sam Avery holding Judy's KFTC awards for spending time lobbying in Frankfort.

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ORSANCO Makes Standards Voluntary

Posted by: Robin Gee and Maria Truitt on June 17, 2019

On June 6, the current standards set by the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) for monitoring water quality in the Ohio River became voluntary.

Northern Kentucky celebrates 10th Annual Pride!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 13, 2019

This year Northern Kentucky as a community celebrated the 10th Annual Pride!

NKY Celebrates Pride!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 4, 2019

Northern Kentucky members helped kick off Pride celebrations in May at the unveiling of the 'Y'all Means All' beer from Bircus Burewery, which benefits

Scott County residents stand against landfill

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 4, 2019

Last night hundreds of residents came out to Scott County High School, filling up one side of the gym. Residents came to speak about proposed changes to the Scott County Waste Management Plan. The residents in Scott County have been fighting an expansion of the landfill, and the Scott County Fiscal Court is now considering changes to the plan to reduce future waste stored there.

Resident after resident mentioned the impact the existing landfill has had on day-to-day lives – air quality concerns, breathing concerns, dangerous traffic conditions, and repeated offenses by the landfill regarding environmental violations. As the county continues to grow, and waste from other communities is shipped in, the current situation cannot remain the same.

National Popular Vote: the majority should decide

Posted by: Virginia Meagher on May 23, 2019

For most of us, the night of Nov. 8, 2016 will be seared into our memory forever. Donald Trump had won the presidency.  

2019 Primary Election by the numbers

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 22, 2019

2019 Primary Canvass This is good. This is real good.

Kentucky needs a Democracy. And because of that, KFTC is setting increasingly bold goals in building our electoral strength to get more people registered, informed about candidate stances, voting, to build support around issues we care about, support candidates who's stances align with ours, and to train new candidates.

KFTC members leaned into this primary election cycle more heavily than any other, calling voters and generally getting the word out.  It made a big impact.

Here are a few numbers of what you and the rest of the KFTC members achieved this election through KFTC and the New Power PAC:

  • Calls to voters made - 12,151
  • Voter conversation by phone - 2,015
  • Voicemail messages left - 3,805
  • Voters texted - 16,413
  • Voters registered - 313
  • Supporters IDed - 1,163 (through petition signatures, etc)
  • KentuckyElection.org Visits – 46,900 (about 2.5 times as many as last primary!)Covington Easter Egg 4
  • Gubernatorial candidates responding to our issue stance survey – 7 (of 8)
  • Voter Guides distributed - 17,850 (including 1,000 in Spanish)
  • Other lit pieces printed- 20,447
  • Total ad views online – 291,675

Election Day is tomorrow! www.KentuckyElection.org

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 20, 2019

NKY Bike Parade getting startedTomorrow – Tuesday, May 21 – is Election Day, and we want to make sure KFTC members and our friends are out voting and making a difference together!

To learn about who's on your ballot, where they stand on issues, find your voting location, and much more, visit KentuckyElection.org

Also, please take a moment to remind your friends to vote, share KentuckyElection.org on social media, or even volunteer by contacting your local KFTC organizer.

Polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take a moment to plan out when you’re voting tomorrow!

Kentucky solar movement continues to grow despite setback in legislature

Posted by: Andy McDonald, Earth Tools Inc. on May 15, 2019

The Solar Celebration at West 6th Farm on April 28 near Frankfort was a bittersweet event.

Unpacking the electricity rate increases for LG&E and KU

Posted by: Carrie Ray, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) on May 15, 2019

After rate hikes in 2015 and 2017, Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) hit their customers with another rate hike a few weeks ago.

Raise your voice for a fair and equitable Louisville budget

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 14, 2019

No matter your zip code, we all want whole, thriving communities. Governor Bevin’s recent changes to Kentucky’s pension system have created budget shortfalls in communities across the commonwealth, including here in Louisville. This month the Louisville Metro Council needs to hear from you about what a fair and equitable budget could look like in the midst of these massive cuts.

Metro Council is hosting two more public hearings where you can attend and speak about your vision for our city budget on Thursday, May 16 and Monday, May 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall (601 West Jefferson Street).

You can join KFTC members across the Jefferson County chapter in raising your voice for a fair and equitable budget by attending and/or speaking at a hearing, calling your Metro councilperson, writing a letter to the editor, and sharing with your friends and family.

Below are the Jefferson County KFTC Economic Justice Team's views on local progressive taxation, criminal justice reform, and tax increment financing. You can use these talking points when contacting your Metro Councilperson, writing a letter to the editor, or speaking at an upcoming public hearing.

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