Chapter: Harlan County

In Harlan County and eastern Kentucky, we have a rich culture, natural beauty, valuable resources such as mountains, forests and water, and a history worth preserving. We are a chapter of KFTC because we believe that these assets and characteristics define who we are, and in preserving and protecting them we are defending a way of life and leaving what is most special about this place for future generations.

Harlan County residents helped create KFTC, and we are one of its earliest chapters. Our local chapter was built on the dedication and struggles of many who came before us, and since 1981 we’ve continued their efforts. Through the years, we have been involved in successful campaigns to save the upper elevations of Black Mountain (Kentucky’s highest peak) from strip mining and logging, help communities win water lines and a new bridge, and so much more.

Today we are working to build new power in the mountains to protect the water and a way of life threatened by destructive mining methods, while  supporting KFTC’s broader efforts to make coal mines safer for miners, fully fund schools and keep college affordable, bring clean energy jobs to this area and expand voting rights.

Recent Activities

Singing for Democracy from Lexington to Lynch

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

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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Scott County & NKY Chapters Mountain Witness Tour

 On September 13th and 14th KFTC members and allies, anchored by members coming from Scott County, attended a Mountain Witness Tour visiting members from Letcher and Harlan counties. The group, which included members from the Northern Kentucky and Scott County chapters, a blogger named Stormy, her daughter, allies from the Georgetown College Sustainability Initiative, and members of Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, began the weekend by visiting Wiley’s Last Resort on top of Pine Mountain.

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Water testing workshop continues to build the case for clean water

July water workshopOver the past two months, members from around eastern Kentucky have gathered for workshops in Harlan and Floyd Counties, where they learned the basics of water testing, gained hands-on experience by testing water in nearby streams, and learned how our health is tied the health of our water.

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Toward a bright future in Harlan County

Harlan County KFTC members from Lynch to Loyall have been busy behind the scenes of Appalachia's Bright Future, before and after the conference, building toward better days in Harlan and beyond.  2013 has already been a huge year for one of KFTC's first chapters, positioned on one of the farthest ends of Kentucky.  Besides hosting a three-day conference for over 200 people near and far, the chapter has seen local projects gain momentum and the chapter grow and grow. 

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Chapter Feature:

DSC_0931"Many of us are working to create a better future for our children and grandchildren - and we've got lots of possibilities and real ideas about how to do that. We've got a bright future if we want it."

- Carl Shoupe, Benham, KY

 

Visions from Black Mountain coverVisions from Black Mountain

Residents of Benham, Lynch and Cumberland share their visions for the unique Tri-Cities area.

Regular Meetings:

We meet every other even month on the second Thursday at 6 p.m. We move our meeting locations around the county. Check the calendar!

Chapter Organizer:

Sara Estep
Whitesburg, KY 41858
606-632-0051

Upcoming Events:

June 15

Harlan County Annual Chapter Meeting

107 N. 3rd Street
Harlan, KY 40831

Harlan County Annual Chapter Meeting. Join in!