Friends, family, allies:
On election day, our world changed. We too have been in denial, speechless, angry; and it’s taking time to process the past two weeks amidst a lot of unknowns. But one thing we know, and have always known, is that the people of Appalachia are powerful. We know, and have always known, that our work for social and environmental justice is key to our survival. We know, and we have always known, that in unity there is strength.
A lot of us are hurting over the division in our communities. Many of us are hurting over divisions within our own families and in our own homes. There has been real damage done to our society and to our democracy, and the need to grieve and heal should not be ignored.
At the same time, we need to hold accountable the actions of those in power that would harm our communities further. We have worked tirelessly for meaningful progress towards a sustainable, just Appalachia; now more than ever, we’ll need to band together to protect our progress.
Psychological studies have shown that standing up and taking action actually helps heal people in communities that are grieving or feeling vulnerable and isolated. Today, taking action can be as simple as taking care of yourself and your family – we need you in the long run. Take a walk in our beautiful mountains, sit and listen to the water that brings us life, lean into the joy of our children playing. If you need community, we’re here. If you feel like you’re falling, we’ll catch you.
We’ll be working with our local and national allies to push hard as a united front to protect our communities. Here are some opportunities to take action as we process our healing:
- Sign your name in support of the RECLAIM Act, which would bring $1 billion back to coal communities to reclaim abandoned mine sites while creating jobs and economic development. This legislation is more important now than ever!
- If you’ve already signed, share the petition with your networks.
- United we are stronger! Save the date for our anti-racism training February 24-26.
- Engage with us: If you’re interested in joining our work teams or otherwise working with our Alliance, please contact one of our member organizations in your area.
- Do you have big ideas for our region? Our friends at Rural Support Partners have created this open-source local wiki page to share your thoughts, plans, and visions with each other. Together we can!
Looking forward, there is a lot of work to be done, and we will face it together.We are determined, and no matter what changes around us, our values and our vision are the same. Here are the beliefs our work is founded on:
- Mountain people are experts of their own lives
- All people should have a seat at the table in determining the future of their communities
- Regional collaboration strengthens political power built locally
- Systemic change is necessary to achieve justice in our region
The Alliance for Appalachia envisions a world in which we, residents of mountain communities, are able to determine the futures of our communities; where political discourse is public, is welcomed, is impactful, and is free of corporate interests. We envision a world in which all people have access to clean water, clean air and a healthy land base–and a world in which these resources are owned and shared locally. We envision a world in which successful development is measured by the degree to which local economies are robust and lasting, and in which diversity, collaboration, safe working conditions and self-empowerment are pillars of those economies.
As we walk this path together, let these values guide our steps.
For the mountains and people,
The Alliance for Appalachia