Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) Policy Summit

Friday July 19th – Sunday July 21st at Simmons College of Kentucky in Louisville, Kentucky + virtual option

Our friends at the Black Appalachian Coalition invite you to their third BLAC Policy Summit! The third annual BLAC Policy Summit will be July 19th – July 21st and this year they’re hosting it in person at the Simmons College of Kentucky in Louisville, Kentucky. Although they will prioritize Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices, this event is open to anyone that is seeking to step up in solidarity with environmental justice communities.

In Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, African Americans face a range of Environmental Justice issues that stem from historical and ongoing challenges related to political, economic, and environmental injustices. The region’s coal mining history has had a significant impact on Black communities, particularly in areas like West Virginia.

Some key environmental justice issues faced by African Americans in Appalachia include: coal mining and environmental degradation, negative health impacts from environmental pollution, economic disparities, lack of representation, and limited access to resources. These disparities contribute to a cycle of environmental injustice that disproportionately affects African Americans.

Considering these challenges, the BLAC Policy Summit aims to counter these challenges with intentionality around Healing, Justice, Convergence, and Resurgence.

Healing: We will offer a workshop covering cultural preservation and celebration. Attendees will learn how to gather oral history narratives in their own communities and how these narratives can contribute to progressive policy making.

Justice: We will offer a workshop on how to advocate for justice for your community. Attendees will attain skills on how to build a ladder of engagement for fluid campaigns, base and power building, and ways to build upon stories as a precursor to policy making.

Convergence: They will offer a workshop on understanding different levels of power. Attendees will understand the political definitions of power, power analysis and power mapping.

Resurgence: A collective close out on our time together. They will look at what it means to share Black joy and have a celebration of our successes and our collective power.

This year’s summit will also include a “Solidarity Ride”. Leaning on the essence of Freedom Rides, Solidarity Rides are experiences led by Environmental Justice leaders to bring together allies on a bus to come face-to-face with environmental injustices in their communities. The purpose of ‘Solidarity Rides’ is not just to tour frontline communities, but to strategically bring leaders together, in Solidarity to catalyze Environmental Justice.

The BLAC Policy Summit will result in a comprehensive regional focused Environmental Justice policy agenda and principles. This year’s summit will provide diverse perspectives, an informative keynote speaker, and practical information and solutions to timely and relevant issues. Register to join us today!