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

KFTC members speak up for just transition at SOAR Summit

The conversation about economic transition in eastern Kentucky and Appalachia got a big boost on Monday as more than 1,500 people gathered in Pikeville for the SOAR Summit. Dozens of KFTC members participated, sounding the drumbeat for a just transition in the mountains and distributing ideas and literature with specific suggestions on the principles, process and policies that should guide that transition.

SOAR stands for Shaping Our Appalachian Region, a regional planning process announced in October by Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. The summit on December 9 in Pikeville was the first step in that process.

But KFTC members have been talking about a just transition for years.

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A day many have been waiting for comes January 1st!

Greg Sturgill lives in Lynch, Ky and is active with the Harlan County KFTC Chapter. He has served as a registered nurse for 23 years and wrote this after reading Cara Stewart's article on Kynect and the Affordable Care Act in a recent edition of Balacing the Scales.

With January first rapidly approaching, I look forward to a battle that has been very near and dear to my heart coming to a satisfactory resolution.  Effective January 1st, under the Affordable Healthcare Act, not only can practically every American receive much-needed healthcare, no longer can they be discriminated against with minimal or non-coverage due to pre-existing health conditions, regardless of whether or not they had previous coverage.  It’s a day many hard working Americans, rich, poor or middle-class have been waiting, in some cases, their whole working lives for!

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KFTC offers principles and policies for shaping eastern Kentucky’s future

Hopeful about the future, some eastern Kentucky residents have offered suggestions for principles, process and policies to guide future development in the region.

Offered in an open letter to Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, the KFTC members acknowledged, “It won’t be easy, but we believe we can build a bright future here in the mountains.

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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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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:

Whitesburg, KY 41858
606-632-0051

Upcoming Events:

July 29

Rally for health care

81 Church Street
Pikeville, KY

This family-friendly event is part of a national day of action: http://ourlivesontheline.org/.