Thursday, January 27th: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Join our friends at the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) for the release of their BLAC Paper entitled, “Black Storytelling and Policymaking in Appalachia.”

Black Appalachians have played a critical role in Appalachian history, but Appalachian narratives have been whitewashed. Neither the contributions of Black people to Appalachian history nor the harms experienced
by Black communities are popularly known or appreciated, especially in media and policymaking.

Speakers identified many policy needs for Black communities in Appalachia—including access to healthcare
and healthy foods, child and elder care, public transportation, clean air and water, more and higher quality
education opportunities, criminal justice reform, jobs, and equal and higher pay.

Across all of these policy issues there is a common need for Black storytelling and participation as a
precondition for policymaking. Narratives shape how policymakers prioritize public problems. Narratives
that leave out the Black parts of our region’s history and present guarantee that problems experienced by
Black people won’t be prioritized. Policymakers should place more value on creating spaces for groups of
Appalachians that have been historically oppressed or ignored to share their stories, and on helping shift
narratives to accurately reflect the region’s past and present.

Speakers include:

  • Bishop Marcia Dinkins: founder of the Black Appalachian Coalition
  • Melanie Meade: Clairton, PA resident
  • Shana Goggins: Community Organizer with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
  • Akisha Townsend Eaton
  • Crystal Good: writer-poet, producer and founder of Black By God THE WEST VIRGINIAN

You can watch the 10 a.m. Press Conference via Facebook Live.

You can sign up for the 1 p.m. Webinar here!