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balancing the scales, June 10, 2013

Executive Committee Corner by Megan Naseman At-large Executive Committee member Hi, folks. This is my first Executive Committee Corner, so I’ll introduce myself. I’m Megan Naseman, and I grew up in rural Ohio. As a kid, I spent most of my time climbing trees. Before I was engaged in KFTC, I was under the impression that the best way to make change was through my personal actions. I was really caught up in trying to make amends for and minimize my own ecological footprint. After meeting KFTC member Bev May of Floyd County and learning about her work on a Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition, my perspective shifted. Suddenly, I recognized the privilege I had, particularly access to clean water. Through this organization I found my political voice, recognizing that ordinary folks deserve a seat at the table. After I’d been on the Steering Committee a few years, some folks in my local chapter asked if I’d be interested in being nominated to join the Executive Committee. Heads up – this could very well happen to you! I said yes, because I find that time spent with my KFTC family never fails to yield practical lessons, renewed hope for our future, and a hearty dose of laughter.

One of the highlights of being on the Steering Committee is that we have two overnight retreats a year. These are chances for new and seasoned Steering Committee members to get to know each other and dig deeper than is possible in a day-long meeting. Usually, we spend the Friday night of our retreats in a business meeting and gather for training or long-term planning on the following Saturday. Last month, instead of the typical schedule we spent our Friday night meeting time at Louisville Loves Mountains. What a hoot! Though rain was in the forecast and the event moved into the Green Building, the crowd was great. In the entry room, a fiddler busked beside an info table. Posters showed winning youth speeches on the topic of mountaintop removal. A van-turned-photo-booth churned out goofy snapshots with “Louisville Loves Mountains” scrolled across the bottom. A DJ spun oldschool tunes that had folks really going for it. Let’s not forget that having fun is a legitimate goal of organizing, folks! There’s something about joy that binds people and renews our spirits. This, too, is a part of our work. On Saturday, we heard from a panel of organizations working on social justice issues around Louisville. They talked about their vision for Louisville and what was standing in the way of that vision. We heard from Kate Miller, of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Kentucky, about comprehensive immigration reform and ways they are reaching out to immigrants who work behind Churchill Downs. Cathy Hinko and Dana Duncan, from Metropolitan Housing Coalition, shared the startling statistic that 13 percent of Jefferson County public school students experienced homelessness during the last school year. Chris Hartman, of the Fairness Campaign, talked about the anti-oppression lens of their work and how the organization known for fighting for LGBTQ rights also sees a commitment to anti-racism as essential. Eboni Cochran, from REACT (Rubbertown Emergency Action), talked about air quality and organizing for environmental justice in the west end of Louisville. Though we may think abstractly about how all injustices are connected, hearing from this panel of Louisville organizations illustrated ways we might come together to work for change. “We’re all connected,” Cochran said. “We’ve got to get together and connect the dots.” Dana Duncan agreed that “our greatest asset is to collaborate.”

KFTC member Sam Avery has written a book titled The Pipeline and the Paradigm: Keystone XL, Tar Sands, and the Battle to Defuse the Carbon Bomb. He investigates the economic, ecological, political and psychological issues behind the Keystone Pipeline. “In this thoroughly researched, wholly engaging book, Avery takes readers from enormous tar sands mines in Alberta to a tree-top blockade in Texas to meet the people and explore the competing interests that power the environmental issue of our time,” according to publisher Ruka Press. Pick up your copy at your local independent bookstore.

We, as a Steering Committee, were inspired by the breadth of work we heard about, the multitude of paths to a better tomorrow. We brainstormed ways that we might invest in our connections with ally organizations as well as among our chapters around the state. For instance, we saw a connection between the air quality standard enforcement challenges Cochran talked about and what folks in eastern Kentucky face around water quality standard enforcement. We’re interested in chapters working on similar issues hosting cross-chapter exchanges to learn about each other’s work. Perhaps we could profile chapters working on analogous issues in different corners of the state side by side in balancing the scales. I encourage you, as your chapters nominate statewide committee members (which is happening this month, folks), to consider engaging at this level if you haven’t already. You might be surprised at just how much we can learn from one another.

KFTC Offices and Staff MAIN OFFICE Morgan Brown, Robin Daugherty & Burt Lauderdale P.O. Box 1450 London, Kentucky 40743 606-878-2161 Fax: 606-878-5714

FIELD OFFICES Louisville Jessica George, Jerry Hardt, Alicia Hurle Carissa Lenfert, and Colette Henderson 901 Franklin Street Louisville, Ky 40206 502-589-3188 Whitesburg Tanya Turner P.O. Box 463 Whitesburg, Ky 41858 606-632-0051 Central Kentucky Tim Buckingham, Jessica Hays Lucas, Beth Howard, Erik Hungerbuhler, Heather Roe Mahoney, and Dave Newton 250 Plaza Drive Suite 4 Lexington, Ky 40503 859-276-0563

Northern Kentucky Joe Gallenstein 859-380-6103 Floyd County Kristi Kendall and Jessie Skaggs 154 North Lake Drive Prestonsburg, KY 41653 606-226-4159 Bowling Green Denney Breeding 270-779-6483 Berea Lisa Abbott, Beth Biss­ meyer, Amy Hogg, Sara Pennington and Kevin Pentz 140 Mini Mall Drive Berea, KY 40403 859-986-1277 Teri Blanton 118 Baugh Street Berea, Ky. 40403 859-986-1648

e-mail any staff member at except for Jessica Hays Lucas -- use, Beth Howard -- use, and Beth Bissmeyer -- use

June 2013 - balancing the scales  

This is the June 2013 edition of balancing the scales, the organizational newsletter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth