The Fierce Urgency of Now

Posted by: Caraline Feairheller on July 16, 2018

“Somebody’s hurting my brother

and it’s gone on far too long (Yes, it’s gone on far too long)

and we won’t be silent anymore

(and we won’t be silent anymore)”

The familiar hum of the highway had become background noise to the soulful and raspy voice of Mr. Charles Neblett, who was an original Freedom Singer. Mr.  Neblett’s voice echoed off the walls of the metal charter bus. With every verse, the voice of a stranger rose up and sang along. It did not take long until the entire bus was clapping and singing along to the words of songs about freedom, revolution and love.

There is always this moment before I step onto a charter bus or a van where I try to talk myself out of leaving for the adventure. I remind myself my body will be sore, my eyelids will grow heavy, and my mind will find no rest. And then, there is this moment where the bus full of strangers reminds me of the magic that can bloom into this world. The passionate sea of voices, led by Mr. Charles Neblett, was just one reminder I received that day, and for that I will be forever thankful.

The thunderstorm that was promised on June 23 never came. Rain did not pitter-patter against the concrete sidewalks and city streets. Thunder did not roar against the graying sky. Lightening did not flash its static rage against the Washington, D.C. skyline.  

Instead, I found myself walking on to a merely damp National Mall. Fog had rested itself between the grass and among the trees, just thick enough I could barely see the Capitol Building.

I spent the next couple of hours standing on the padded National Mall, surrounded by people of all ages and races; a huddled mass of change-makers. The capitol and the trees spread across its sides were distorted by the stage, screens, posters and flags proudly proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and to Fight Poverty Not the Poor.

I stood and listened to the roaring honesty of every speech. From the words of Reverend Dr. William Barber to that of Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, and from the words of every person who spoke on that stage, I was shown the humanity through which we all relate.

Every speech is a reminder of the way systems of oppression grow like vines tangling around the skin, bones and teeth of neighbors and strangers. Every speech is a reminder that these immoralities exist in this world and not just on an academic page. Every crack in the voice of the orator is the subtle reminder of how poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, racism and a distorted moral narrative can cause so much pain.

I get goosebumps when I listen to these people speak, their words always end with a hope that we as a people can carry and sustain towards creating change.

As the rally was ending and the march was beginning, the final speech was given by a young poet; only 17. She was tired of writing about oppression, reading about oppression, facing an oppression so tightly wrapped around her bones all she can do is ache. I cannot stop thinking about the words of this poet.

I am only 21 years old and I wonder if 21 is too young to already be tired of writing, reading and facing oppression. I am afraid that 17 is too young to already be tired and I am afraid of growing up in a world where classrooms have turned into war zones and the autonomy of my body is still up for debate.

Somebody is hurting my sister and I am afraid for her. Somebody is hurting my sister and it has gone on far too long. And we won’t be silent anymore. And it is in the fact that we won’t be silent anymore the hope is able to bloom in the chaotic foundations of this world. Hope grows in the huddled masses who sing and listen to one another. Hope grows in the fact that the systems of oppression, despite their un-naming, can be challenged through difficult conversations.

The systems can be challenged by working to create change everyday. Everyday, I get to wake up and work for a better world. I get to grow in community with strangers who hold me accountable to the words I say and to the actions I take.

On June 23 I got on a bus with strangers and traveled to Washington, D.C. On June 23, as the moon began to rise I got on a bus with a community who have not and will not be silent anymore.

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Stanley Sturgill tells congressional hearing of attacks on coal miners

Posted by: KFTC staff on July 5, 2018

In June, Harlan County KFTC member Stanley Sturgill spoke at a congressional forum about poverty hosted by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep Elijah Cummings and coordinated with the Poor People’s Ca

Love and Acceptance

Kimmy Sandlin and Mari Froude pose before the 2nd Annual NKY Pride Parade!
Posted by: Kimmy Sandlin on July 2, 2018

On June 10, 2018 I had the privilege to march in the Northern Kentucky Pride Parade. I marched with the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Northern Kentucky chapter. I am currently interning with KFTC with Joe Gallenstein as my supervisor. My friend, Mari, had stayed over the night before so we could wake up early to prepare. We were both so excited to go to the parade and to support the LGBTQ+ community. We woke up early that morning to meet Joe at Roebling Point Books and Coffee where we started our day with a cup of coffee and donuts. I had been sick for the past week, and wasn’t sure I’d have the energy needed to participate. That doubt disappeared once we walked over to our spot in the parade and waited for the parade to start.

While waiting I could already feel how important it is for our communities to show support. I could feel all the love and acceptance as I spoke with others participating in the parade. We talked about issues that were close to our hearts, and how we plan to achieve our goals. Once the parade started, I was happy to see people from our communities showing their support and I enjoyed seeing how happy the children were to catch pieces of candy. Being a part of all the love was enlightening.  Music played, people danced and sang. Despite being exhausted from my cold, my friend and I, danced and sang along as well. Being goofy and jumping around was so much fun and being a part of the parade has been a highlight of my summer. Although, we should not limit support for the LGBTQ+ community to just one month, I am very excited to have been a part of the Pride Parade this year and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

KFTC members attend Families Belong Together Rally!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 15, 2018

The Northern Kentucky chapter of KFTC joined Northern Kentucky Justice and Peace Committee, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, Northern Kentucky Indivisible and Together We Will - Cincinnati for a rally on the Roebling Bridge on June 14 to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating families.

The event, which was scheduled to be a part of events taking place nationwide, gained more attention closer to the action locally based on news reports of a plan to build 'tent cities' to house children (both unaccompanied minors and those separated from their families by the Department of Homeland Security) and the conditions inside of other holding facilities. Those in attendance chanted slogans offering support for families directly and indirectly impacted by the new heinous policy.

America, Our Lives Are on the Line

Posted by: Mikaela Curry on June 7, 2018

Mikaela Curry

SOKY members work hard to build power for Tuesday's primary election

Posted by: the Southern Kentucky Chapter on May 17, 2018

The Southern Kentucky chapter has been hard at work preparing for the May 22 primary elections and building the grassroots power we will need for November.

Electing Empathy Through Informed Choices: Robin Gilbert reflects on SOKY chapter's Congressional candidate forum

Posted by: Robin Gilbert on May 16, 2018

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth has been an important part of my political journey. The most recent opportunity I’ve had through KFTC was to ask a question directly to the congressional candidates for House District 2 at the Southern Kentucky Chapter’s Candidate Forum on April 24. I took the opportunity to address opioid addiction, a topic that touches so many other issues, including health care and mental health, the economy, incarceration, and much more.

I never considered myself a really political person in the past. Growing up in New York City, I was aware of headlines and a general sense of local and world events. One family tradition was reading the New York Times every Sunday. I skimmed the front page and devoured the styles and book review sections. After major events like the beginning of the Iraq war and 9/11, I paid a little closer attention. I always voted.

It was when Donald Trump was the Republican nominee that I began what is now an obsession with politics. I have been a Kentuckian for 6 years. I love Bowling Green for its diversity and the kindness of the people I have met. I have never been on Facebook much, and have a general distrust of social media, but in February 2017 I signed on to Twitter. How much trouble could 140 characters bring?

Housing conference inspires and motivates SOKY member

Posted by: Samantha Johnson on May 15, 2018

Would you like to know how to get motivated and have a fire set in your soul? Spend a weekend with the people that make up the Homes for All South group.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to represent KFTC at the Homes For All South conference in Nashville, TN May 4-6. The weekend was full of activities, workshops and sessions that were energetic, inspiring and motivating.

Housing is a human right many people struggle with and fight for every day and sadly, many people have a fight they cannot win alone. Homes for All is made up of individuals from many organizations all across the south. They help people in their fight, as a collective group. Throughout the weekend, we were able to share our own work, pick the brains of those doing amazing projects across the region and take away ideas, resources and a sense of satisfaction for the work we do.

Pie-in-the-Sky fundraising in Madison County

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on May 14, 2018

On a spring evening in May, those hungry for New Power as well as pie gathered in a small church gymnasium. Eight years ago, local KFTC members, confident and proud of their baking skills, started this tradition of donating pies to auction in support of KFTC’s work. This year, the prospect of a $100,000 matching grant provided additional motivation for expanding the reach of the chapter’s efforts.

The evening began with a welcome from Teri Blanton, a long-time member who hosted and auctioned the pies. To start things off in a warm, family atmosphere, members led the children in a pie auction of their own in addition to a singalong led by local musician Sam Gleaves.

CKY Chapter Leader Sarah Bowling shares her KFTC story

Posted by: Sarah Bowling on May 7, 2018

Help me CELEBRATE my graduation -- DONATE to KFTC!!    

If you are reading this, then you may know me.  You probably know that I am politically active. And you most likely know that I am a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. What you might not know is why.  

I grew up in Central Appalachia in a town built on coal. Both sides of my family worked in and around the business. I even had “Coal Keeps the Lights On” paraphernalia.

Show support for Kentucky's immigrants this week.

Posted by: KFTC staff on April 27, 2018

Kentucky's immigrant communities help make our Commonwealth more just and democratic, and help build an economy that works for all of us. When our immigrant neighbors are taken from their homes, and families are torn apart, they deserve our protection and support. 


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