BLAC Re-Membering Podcast

Black Appalachian Coalition

Welcome to the Black Appalachian Coalitions podcast entitled Black Re-Membering, where we will bring to you the heavy and the hope across the Ohio River Valley.

This is a place where we will let our souls wander. A place where we will sit in the ancestral hymns of what continues to be embedded in our soul and keeps us moving. This is a place where we will remind ourselves that we are deeply rooted in the fabric of the Appalachian region and that the Black Voice has something to say.

We want to remember who we are, and where we've come from. We are remembering our Black past and we are rooted, and we are here to stay. Welcome to Black Re-Membering. Here is where we hope that you find your place, your space, and your voice.

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Supporting Black Youth: The Role of Community Healing and Education - Dr. Alicia All's
4d ago
Supporting Black Youth: The Role of Community Healing and Education - Dr. Alicia All's
Dr. Alisha Alls is a highly accomplished individual in the field of childhood development. With a doctorate in organizational leadership and a master's degree in special education, she brings a strong academic foundation to her work. As a former special education teacher and current student success coach at a local community college, Dr. Alls has extensive experience working directly with students and understanding their unique needs. Her dedication to education is evident through her involvement in various community organizations. As a mother of twin girls and an entrepreneur, Dr. Alls brings a wealth of practical knowledge and real-world experience to her advocacy for positive childhood development. Through her expertise and passion, she aims to create healing and supportive environments for children, empowering parents and educators to make a lasting impact on their lives. Dr. Alls' commitment to the well-being and success of Black children is commendable and makes her an invaluable voice in the field.In this episode, you will be able to:Harnessing the power of positive childhood development to heal generations to come.Discover the transformative impact of individual healing on children's well-being.Unlocking the potential of empathetic education for nurturing emotional well-being in children.Cultivating community involvement as a catalyst for supporting children's growth and development.Unveiling the importance of actively listening to young people's concerns for fostering a positive environment.Connect with Dr. Alisha AllsWebsiteLinkedInTikTokThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Finding Strength in the Darkness: A Story of Faith, Personal Choice, and Resilience
06-11-2023
Finding Strength in the Darkness: A Story of Faith, Personal Choice, and Resilience
Today's episode is a solo episode by BLAC Fellow Kimyata Patterson. She share a very real and personal experience that highlighted the power of faith and the consequences of personal choices. In the middle of the night, Kim and her family were startled awake by what sounded like gunshots. When she bravely opened the door to investigate, two men dressed as police officers barged into her home, looking for her son. It turned out that these men were not actually police officers, but rather individuals intent on causing harm. Kim attributes her family's safety to her decision to bless her home with oil, a symbol of God's protection. Despite the traumatic event, Kim emphasizes the importance of personal choices and their impact on not only ourselves but also those around us. She reminds listeners that love, prayer, and trusting in God can bring about positive change in the face of hate, disruption, and corruption. Through her story, Kim encourages others to share their own experiences and use their voices to create meaningful change.In this episode, you will be able to:Discover the empowering stories of resilience and strength within the black community in the Appalachian region.Explore the transformative power of faith and personal choices in overcoming adversity and achieving success.Gain insights into the systemic issues faced by the black community in Appalachia and learn strategies for positive change.Find inspiration and guidance in navigating traumatic experiences, such as attempted break-ins, with courage and determination.Tap into the collective wisdom and knowledge of the Black Appalachian Coalition's podcast, offering valuable support and resources for black individuals facing challenges.The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Building Bridges to Environmental Equity with Curtis Da'Von
30-10-2023
Building Bridges to Environmental Equity with Curtis Da'Von
Today’s Episode of BLAC Re-Membering is hosted by Melanie Meade and features Curtis Da’Von, Organizing Director of Clean Water Action. With a strong commitment to environmental justice, Curtis is a passionate advocate for addressing the pressing environmental issues that impact African-American communities. Living on the Penhills Verona borderline, he has a firsthand understanding of the detrimental effects of pollution on air and water quality. Curtis's work centers around empowering communities and fighting against the harmful effects of lead contamination. He draws inspiration from figures like Nipsey Hussle, highlighting the importance of perseverance and unity in the pursuit of positive change. Curtis's expertise and dedication make him a valuable asset in the African-American environmental advocacy movement. We are excited to delve into his insights and experiences on this important topic.In this episode, you will be able to:Discover the powerful impact of African-American environmental advocacy and how it is shaping our collective future.Explore the deep connection between sustainability and African American culture, and unlock the potential for a greener and more equitable society.Learn practical strategies for restoring balance and harmony with nature, empowering you to make a positive impact in your community.Unite with like-minded individuals and ignite systemic change through collective action, amplifying your impact and creating lasting environmental justice.Unleash the power of storytelling and community collaboration to inspire meaningful change in environmental policy and practice.Harness the strength of community networks to address environmental challenges and create a more sustainable future.Gain insights into the historical and present-day environmental injustices faced by African American communities, and learn how to advocate for a more equitable and healthier environment.Learn more about Curtis Da’Von and his workClean Water ActionThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Rebuilding History with Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed
23-10-2023
Rebuilding History with Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed
Today’s Episode of BLAC Re-Membering is hosted by Marie Cochran and features Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed. Trevellya Ford-Ahmed, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Tee Ford) is an Emerita Professor at West Virginia State University and currently the Communication Media Director for the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society in Athens, OH. Growing up as the only Black family in a coal mining holler, she faced unique challenges and experiences in her community. Throughout her career, Dr. Ford-Ahmed has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion, using her platform to empower students and promote social change. Her insights and experiences provide valuable perspectives on the diverse experiences of Black individuals in Appalachia. With a strong commitment to education and community engagement, Dr. Ford-Ahmed is a respected voice in the field and an influential figure in the conversation surrounding Black Appalachia.In this episode, you will be able to:Discover the rich and often overlooked history of Black Appalachia, celebrating the diverse and vibrant contributions of Black individuals in the region.Explore the challenges faced by the Black Appalachian community and learn about innovative solutions and initiatives that drive positive change.Uncover the power and significance of adaptable names, gaining a deeper understanding of how they play a role in cultural identity and community connectivity.Dive into the diverse experiences shared by Black individuals in Appalachia, gaining insights into their unique stories and perspectives.Explore the resilience and enduring contributions of Black individuals in Appalachia, highlighting their exceptional talents, achievements, and impact on the region.Learn more about Dr. Tee Ford-AhmedSoutheast OH: The Black Appalachian Experience posted on December 5, 2022 by Maya Meadehttps://southeastohiomagazine.com/2022/12/05/the-black-appalachian-experience/Mount Zion Black Cultural Center - https://mountzionathens.org/https://www.athensnews.com/eedition/page-a001/page_de2fed13-19bb-5645-9139-0c95677824a8.htmlThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Highlighting the Heavy and the Hope of a Civil Servant
16-10-2023
Highlighting the Heavy and the Hope of a Civil Servant
Today on Blac Re-Membering, we have the privilege of hosting an anonymous Civil Servant from the Mon Valley area. With a deep care for his community and a wealth of experience, our guest brings a unique perspective to the challenges faced by residents. Growing up in the Mon Valley, our guest fondly recalls a time when the community was tight-knit and everyone looked out for one another. However, as the community has evolved, there has been a shift in dynamics and a decrease in the sense of safety and unity. Our guest believes that collective action and community support are crucial in addressing these issues. Join us as we delve into the importance of preserving a sense of community and explore ways to tackle the community's present challenges.In this episode, you will be able to:Discover the challenges faced by the Mon Valley community and find out how you can be part of the solution.Learn about the impact of limited access to fresh food in the Mon Valley and explore innovative solutions to improve food security.Understand how appearances can affect opportunities in the Mon Valley community and discover strategies to overcome these barriers.Find out how community support and collective action can create positive change in the Mon Valley.Explore the need for green industries and tech jobs in the Mon Valley and discover how these industries can promote economic growth and sustainability.The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Big Doors, Little Hinges: Reparations in Asheville with Phyllis Utley
09-10-2023
Big Doors, Little Hinges: Reparations in Asheville with Phyllis Utley
In this episode of the Blac Re-Membering podcast, Fellows explore the need for reparations and collective healing in addressing historical injustices. Our guest, Phyllis Utley, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion, highlighting the importance of acknowledging and valuing the contributions of Black communities throughout history. Phyllis shares personal anecdotes and historical examples to underscore the transformative power of community support and shared experiences. The episode also delves into the city of Asheville's involvement in reparations, with a focus on the reparations commission and the ongoing work to address systemic racism and promote deep equity. Listeners are invited to sign a pledge and get involved in the process, as the conversation emphasizes the importance of collective action in achieving justice and healing. This episode provides valuable insights and practical steps for individuals interested in promoting racial justice and community healing.In this episode, you will be able to:Explore the importance of racial justice and community healing in Asheville, North Carolina, and gain a deeper understanding of the historical context and its impact on the present.Discover the significance of community support and shared experiences in fostering healing, unity, and resilience.Embrace and honor the rich cultural diversity within your community, and learn how it enhances social cohesion and collective well-being.Recognize and value the invaluable contributions of Black communities, and explore strategies to uplift and amplify their voices.Gain insights into the need for reparations and collective healing as powerful tools in addressing historical injustices and promoting social justice.Meet Phyllis UtleyPhyllis Utley is an exceptional individual whose tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the BIPOC community in Asheville, North Carolina. With a wealth of experience in community healing and racial justice work, Phyllis has played a pivotal role in co-leading trauma healing sessions and collaborating with organizations such as the Racial Justice Coalition, the Center for Participatory Change, and the African American Heritage Commission. Recognized as a 2020 SDEC award recipient, Phyllis's passion for promoting collective healing and addressing historical injustices shines through in her work. As an Afrolatian, she brings a unique perspective to the table, rooted in her ancestral connection to the indigenous people of Asheville. Learn more about Phyllis and her work:InstagramRacial Justice Coalition: https://www.rjcavl.org/ Pledge Sharing Guide: https://www.rjcavl.org/reparations-are-due-sharing/ Reparations info: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/why-we-need-reparations-for-black-americans/Articles:Urban NewsMountain XPressThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Art Talk with LaChrista Ellis
02-10-2023
Art Talk with LaChrista Ellis
In a world where self-belief is key to pursuing one's passions, join LaChrista Ellis as she shares her journey of empowerment through art. LaChrista Ellis is an accomplished artist and single mother hailing from Harrisburg, Kentucky. With a bachelor's degree in studio art from Kentucky State University and a background in live art, pop art, and portraiture, LaChrista's passion for the arts shines through in her vibrant and captivating artwork. She has recently delved into the world of NeuroArt, developing a unique style that combines vibrant color palettes with contour-like thickness and conventional patterns. LaChrista not only uses her art as a means of personal expression but also conducts workshops called Art as Therapy, using creative and artistic expression as a tool for healing past hurts. Her dedication to her craft and her commitment to helping others make her a truly inspiring and influential figure in the art community.In this episode, you will learn:The transformative power of art therapy and self-expressionThe evolving nature of community post-pandemicHow LaChrista overcame creative blockages and tapows into her full artistic potentialHow she navigates the art world with confidence and financial sustainability.One piece of advice she wants everyone to knowLearn more about LaChrista Ellis and her work:https://artcenterky.org/blog/2022/11/03/lachrista-ellis/LinkedInThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Passion and Purpose with Crystal Cauley
18-09-2023
Passion and Purpose with Crystal Cauley
In a world where black history is often overlooked, Crystal Cauley emerges as a dedicated activist, preserving the rich heritage of her community. Crystal Cauley is a multi-faceted individual considered a dynamic force working towards the preservation of Black history and betterment of underprivileged regions. Originally hailing from Hendersonville, North Carolina, she is deeply rooted in her community and utilizes her experiences to channel positivity into her creative ventures. Her thought-provoking journey, which includes establishing the Black Business Network of Western North Carolina, confronting issues of racial sensitivity, and fostering a nurturing atmosphere for minority businesses, speaks volumes about her determination to create an uplifted community.In this episode, you will be able to:Voyage into the mesmerizing personal journey of Crystal Collie, a native of Hendersonville, North Carolina.Step into the creation heartland of the Black Business Network of Western North Carolina and discover its central mission.Delve into a controversial incident involving insensitive comments by a high-ranking executive and gain an understanding of how to respond with education to drive away ignorance.Learn about the gravity of recognitions from local city administrations that can help signify the importance of community-centric events.Unravel Crystal's commitment towards preserving Black history, spearheading initiatives in underserved regions, and her future visions for establishing a bird sanctuary and a community garden.Learn more about Crystal Cauley and her work"Network shines light on minority-owned businesses: Hendersonville High graduate launched marketing and support tool" by Beth De Bona  BlueRidge Now Times-News, July 22, 2016"Profile Crystal Cauley," Urban News Gateway to the Multicultural Community, May 13, 2021Cauley wins Wilma Dykeman Award for Writers of Color by Lurah Lowery Hendersonville Times-News, July 2021Executive director of NC Apple Festival receives backlash over Juneteenth comments by Kristen Aguirre, News Channel 12, UPDATE June 23, 2022, 6:29 (video)Cauley receives Radical Rest grant to support community work by Jennifer Heaslip BlueRidge Now Times-New, Aug 1, 2023Waymakers Collective: Appalachian Arts and Culture AssemblyThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Running With Purpose with Melinda Wofford
11-09-2023
Running With Purpose with Melinda Wofford
Melinda Wofford, an impressive figure in civic leadership, has managed to leave a significant mark in her hometown of Bergen. Known for her robust determination, Melinda is one of the few individuals who have not only proved their mettle in strenuous physical activities like running marathons but also in the challenging world of politics. Becoming a City Council candidate, she illustrated a commendable blend of self-motivation and unwavering willpower. Her multifaceted career includes dedicated work as an internal auditor at the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority, meaningful associations with community services organizations, and above all, a relentless commitment to voicing the concerns of her community.In this episode, you will be able to:Witness the authentic narratives of African American people, presented by the Black Appalachian Coalition.Immerse in the inspirational life journey of Melinda Wofford from a supportive home in Bergen, Kentucky.Grasp the importance of unity and communal interaction and connect with the crucial role of family support and pursuit of education to defy stereotypes and pave the path for intellectual growth.See the essence of determination and self-motivation manifest in life-changing events such as marathon races and City Council elections.Learn more about Councilwomen Melinda Wofford:https://www.harrodsburgherald.com/2022/12/07/representing-mercer-county-burgin-city-councilwoman-melinda-wofford/The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Faustine McDonald: Sickle Cell Warrior and Beyond
28-08-2023
Faustine McDonald: Sickle Cell Warrior and Beyond
Faustine McDonald, a woman of profound depth hailing from Western North Carolina, seamlessly blends legacy and innovation. As an entrepreneur, her accomplishments include introducing the first African-American owned downtown business in Jackson County, thus breaking barriers and challenging traditional narratives. Her personal struggles with sickle cell anemia haven't deterred her; rather, they've inspired her to craft the powerful Survivor's Journey Clothing brand. Faustine's unconditional commitment towards protecting her family's land, preserving the history of her community, and perpetuating generational wealth underscores her dedication to creating a steadfast legacy.In this episode, you will be able to:Unearth the vibrant history and experiences from the Black Appalachian perspective rarely told before.Grasp the vital need for preserving family history as a cornerstone of enduring legacy.Confront the existing stereotypes of blackness and learn about the need for more diverse representation.Learn real-life lessons from an inspiring entrepreneurial journey that carved its own successful path.Understand why names and identity hold so much weight in defining our unique selves.Learn more about Faustine McDonald and her work:Faustine McDonald: Survivor's Journey Clothing home pageFaustine McDonald: Survivor's Journey: The Story Behind the Clothing Brand (video)Travel to Western North Carolina Mountains - Casey Paradise Tiny Home Mountain Retreat, Cullowhee, NC hosted by AirbnbLearn Black History of Western North Carolina Mountains - Just Over the Hill Black Appalachians in Jackson County, Western North Carolina (book) by Victoria A. Casey McDonaldSickle Cell 101 (SC101) founded in 2013 a Silicon Valley-based non-profit organization that specializes in sickle cell education. Dedicated to providing evidence-based, patient friendly content to the sickle cell community. PBS Southern Storytellers: Episode 1 (Aired: 07/18/23, Expires: 07/17/27)The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Living Legends: Meet Glenis Redmond
28-08-2023
Living Legends: Meet Glenis Redmond
Introducing Glenis Redmond, a poet and teaching artist who believes in the power of imagination. The first Poet Laureate of Greenville, South Carolina, Glenis considers herself an Air Force brat and proudly embraces her Southern roots. Her journey spans roles as a respected teaching artist at the Kennedy Center and an alumnus of Cave Canem. Glenis is also the author of six poetry books, drawing readers into her vibrant world. Despite her ongoing battle with cancer, Glenis embodies her mantra 'bloom anyhow', inspiring countless others with her perseverance.In this episode, you will be able to:Delve into the significance of recognizing your tie to your ancestral lineage and geographic origin.Acknowledge the restorative power of connecting with nature, particularly through gardening.Uncover the benefits of securing one's roots and finding the peace that accompanies silence.Grasp the struggle and triumph in reclaiming space and identity for the Black Appalachian community.Understand the critical place of self-care and self-empathy towards making life's journey smoother.Learn more about Glenis Redmond and her work at https://www.glenisredmond.com/.The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Living Legends: Meet Mayor Atkins
21-08-2023
Living Legends: Meet Mayor Atkins
Mayor James H. Atkins brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in his capacity as a seasoned public servant, whose journey in public service began with his tenure on the Danville City Commission. As an Educator turned Politician, his background provides a unique vantage point in understanding the nexus of education and politics. His impressive service span includes roles ranging from teacher, principal, coach, assistant superintendent, to Diversity Administrator at Centre College, each role contributing valuable insights and skills utilized daily in his political career. Despite wearing many hats in a professional capacity, it is the titles of husband, father, and grandfather that he cherishes most, attributing these familial roles to shaping up his ability to communicate relentlessly with people from all walks of life, earning him the endearment of 'the people's mayor.'In this episode, you will be able to:Gain insights into the rich tapestry of Black history and experiences in the unique settings of the Ohio River Valley and Appalachia.Uncover the often tangled narratives of segregation and integration in Lexington, Kentucky.Follow the inspiring path of Mayor Atkins to Danville and his profound contributions to education.Discover the transformative power of civic engagement and volunteerism.Grasp the fundamental importance of representation and diversity in local politics.Connect with Mayor Atkins and learn more about his work at:https://www.danvilleky.org/193/MayorThe mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Memories of A Storyteller with Kelle Jolly
14-08-2023
Memories of A Storyteller with Kelle Jolly
Welcome to Episode 11 of Blac Re-Membering: Highlighting the Heavy and the Hope.  Today's episode is hosted by Marie Cochran and she is joined by Kelle Jolly,  an artist who effortlessly melds music and storytelling to create an enchanting tapestry of shared experiences and community bonding. Born in South Carolina and groomed in Atlanta, Kelle now calls the picturesque landscapes of East Tennessee her home. Her incredible musical journey spans diverse genres, including jazz, folk, classical, and R&B with notables like the Mailman Show Band in Chattanooga. Discover the power of storytelling in forging deep connections within communities, as Kelle Jolly shares her journey and connection to her Appalachian roots. In this episode, you will be able to:Delve into the enduring legacy and cultural wealth of Black Appalachians.Experience the stories and excitement that shape Juneteenth commemorations in different cities within East Tennessee.Explore the distinct identity of Afrolachians shaped by a fusion of African and Appalachian roots.Grasp the pivotal role nature and landscape play in defining the quintessential East Tennessee lifestyle.Realize the enduring role storytelling serves in shaping community bonds and shared experiences.A special thank you to Kelle for sharing her story and her journey with us. Also please note that since this recording, Kelle Jolly has relocated to Asheville, NC.Connect with Kelle JollyFacebookInstagramMedia: "Kelle Jolly Shares Joy and History with her Affrilachian Ukulele"The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.
Supporting The Community: A Conversation with Fairshake Environmental Legal Services
17-07-2023
Supporting The Community: A Conversation with Fairshake Environmental Legal Services
Welcome to Episode 6 of Blac Re-Membering: Highlighting the Heavy and the Hope.  Today's episode is facilitated by Melanie Meade and invites Shawn Reed and Meagan Neibler of Fairshake Environmental Legal Services to speak about their commitment to the community and why it is important in the fight for Environmental Justice along Black Appalachia. We also invite you to register and attend our first Policy Summit on July 21-22, 2023. This is a multi-day conversation on uplifting Black voices to create effective, community-centered policy. Register for each day of the summit at bit.ly/2023-BLAC-policy-summit A special thank you to Shawn and Meagan for the work they do and their commitment to Environmental  Justice for all.Fairshake believes that communities should be the drivers of decisions that impact their air, water, and the places where they live work and play.  In many towns in the Ohio River Valley, low-income communities, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ communities are unfairly exposed to poor air and water quality, unhealthy living conditions, and harmful land use, just because of their zip code.  The historic and current decisions that have created environmental injustices have led to higher rates of asthma, heart disease, cancers, mental health challenges, and lead poisoning.  Take a look to see how your community is doing:  EPA Environmental Justice Mapping Tool.Fair Shake’s Community Democracy Program supports Environmental Justice communities in the Ohio River Valley feel healthy, happy, and connected to their community because they have meaningful involvement in decisions that impact the places they live, work, and play.The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experiences of Black Appalachians.For more stories and information about The Black Appalachian Coalition please visit www.blackappalachiancoalition.org.