There’s no better day than today- the first day of Native American Heritage Month- to announce and welcome Taysha DeVaughan, our new Development Coordinator to the Alliance for Appalachia! Please, send her some love!
A note from Taysha:
It is with a heart full of gratitude that I pen this note, reflecting on my journey and the new opportunity before me. I am deeply humbled and excited to step into the role of Development Coordinator for the Alliance for Appalachia. This role is not just a title, but a representation of our collective commitment and dedication to the mountains, people, and communities of Appalachia.
My path here has been carved through diligent work with the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, a core member of our Alliance, where together, we strived to amplify the voices calling for environmental justice in Appalachian Virginia rallied our communities to resist the destructive impacts of mountaintop removal mining and other forms of industrial exploitation, oppression, and extraction.
Through the platform the Alliance has generously provided our collective, I have been able to advocate for pivotal causes like the RECLAIM Act and the EJ for All Act. Vital initiatives that are intrinsically linked to the future well-being of our region and its people. It’s this advocacy that paved my way to my appointment as Chair of the Virginia Governor’s Council for Environmental Justice where I continue to serve. I am grateful to the Alliance’s investment in my leadership, and hope to repay this debt of gratitude by working diligently to ensure that the Alliance and its members and our frontline leaders are resourced and supported to the best of my capacity.
Moreover, I carry with me the pride of my heritage as a Caddo and Comanche woman. My traditions have taught me the importance of stewardship and the interconnectedness of all life. This knowledge drives my personal convictions and my belief Indigenous leaders have a rightful and crucial place in the movement for Appalachia. It is high time our insights, experiences, and traditions are integrated, centered, and respected especially in spaces advocating for environmental justice. I am proud that our Alliance continues to lead the region in it’s willingness to invest in leaders from frontline communities and identities like my own.
In this new chapter, I pledge to serve our communities with the same passion and determination that has fueled my journey thus far. Together, with the Alliance and the broader movement for Appalachia, I am confident we can continue our efforts to build a brighter, more just, and sustainable future for all.
In solidarity and thanks, Taysha