The movement marches on in 2020! As February nears its close, we want to take a look back on the first few weeks of this semester to review the highlights of our work.
We began our year in Richmond for KSEC’s Annual Planning Meeting. We gathered fifteen leaders in KSEC’s network to set down plans for the year. We set our focus on statewide collaboration around fossil fuel divestment and building new campaigns with our working groups. Our 2020 Steering Committee met for the first time to continue building the organizational sustainability to keep KSEC on its mission. Our 2020 Catalyst Directors also met and laid down plans for our biggest and best Catalyst yet.
What we planned at the Annual Meeting came to life quickly. On February 13, members of KSEC’s state network at University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University joined dozens of other campuses across the country for Divestment Day, demanding that their schools end their investments in the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in their communities.
KSEC’s working groups have also been busy. Out of discussions with members in the last year, we realized a need for and a desire to build networks for mutual aid in Kentucky. Accordingly, KSEC has convened the first meetings of its new Mutual Aid Working Group (MAWG). As its first task, MAWG has set out to direct resources to regions of Eastern Kentucky recently impacted by flash flooding. MAWG is also working to direct resources toward the Wet’suwet’an Nation, who are combating an illegal natural gas pipeline on their line. A tool kit for supporters of their fight can be found at this link.
The Political Working Group (PWG) has also begun laying the groundwork for a campaign to bring accountability and democracy to the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is a regulatory agency with the mandate to set the rates Kentuckians pay to utility companies. It is immensely powerful, but it is also obscure and difficult to access for the public.
Members of the PWG lobbied in Frankfort on February 18 to ask legislators to support House Bill 126, which would require the PSC to consider whether a rate increase would be affordable to the folks who have to pay it; the bill also give the PSC more power to audit the rates and practices of utility companies. The Political Working Group will continue to fight for this bill and other reforms to the PSC in the year ahead.
Catalyst 2020 is also off to a swift start. Our directors have selected our training team for the annual summer camp. An application to attend Catalyst and grow all the basic grassroots organizing skills a student could need will be available soon -- watch this space!
In all of this, KSEC has also started a book club in Central Kentucky, given trainings to our campus affiliates, hired an organizing fellow, sent representatives to Power Shift Network’s annual meeting, and so much!
We’re only getting started, too. All of our teams have plans for the rest of the semester, including talking with candidates for office, offering more trainings at campuses, hosting our Spring Summit in Bowling Green, and rising up for many enormous actions on Earth Day and the week around it.
We hope you’ll join us.