The STAY Project, Appalachian Community Fund, & Funders for LGBTQ Issues Present:
What Are these events?
The gatherings are designed to develop broader networks, that will support and sustain LGBTQIA+ organizations and individuals in our region. To achieve this goal, gatherings will be held in East Tennessee, East Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, and West Virginia. In late June, a regional gathering will bring participants together to hear our findings and plan next steps.
All gatherings are free and open to the public, including a catered meal (be sure to indicate dietary restrictions and other access needs when you register). Each gathering will last from 5:30pm-9pm.
For those who cannot attend in person, we will also hold video conference calls following each state gathering, and a series of donor -hosted gatherings to be announced.
For specific questions, please feel free to contact our Project Director, Kendall Bilbrey, at email@example.com.
How do I learn more about this event?
Who should I invite?
We are hosting several state-based & regional in-person & digital gatherings! One reason we are hosting them in different states is so as many people from that state have the opportunity to attend. While this event is open to allies, we want to prioritize attendance of LGBTQIA individuals and those directly supporting them (donors, organizations, youth).
What were the dates again? Are there flyers for the state events? (yup!)
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for better quality flyers and social media blurbs!
more about the project
The Appalachian Community Fund will be collaborating with The STAY Project for this planning grant (Out in the South Initiative) . With this grant, we seek to serve LGBTQ communities and individuals in the Central Appalachian region, with an emphasis on those that are living in rural and disenfranchised communities.
Learning Opportunities: As it relates to organizations in our region who are doing LGBTQ work, we have identified the following four learning opportunities to build on the assessment that was presented last year:
It is our hope through this process we can more deeply engage our existing donors to these funds with the goal that our current donors will:
Dear STAY Family,
Already in 2017, we see young folks across Appalachia putting in some serious work to prepare our communities for what's ahead. We also know that so often, young folks feel disempowered to engage in their communities, or don't know how to plug in. You might have noticed STAY's work growing and expanding over the past few years, and we are really proud of what we've been able to accomplish together so far-- we need you to stand with us!
One major goal STAY's leadership has had for a long time is to create more avenues for STAY members to engage in the day to day work we're moving throughout the year. If you've got some skills you're wanting to build on, some skills you're wanting to share, have an issue you want to work on in your community, or just wanna get connected to more young people in the region, join a STAY committee today!
Areas of Work That Need Your Help!
Racial Justice Committee
STAY Summer Institute
Economic Justice & Just Transition Work
I know, you're thinking—WOW! So many cool opportunities! Where do I sign up?
Send an e-mail to email@example.com with your interest areas, and we'll connect you to everything you need to know!
If you're not sure about your availability or what the commitment looks like, our Coordinator Kendall or some other STAY members who are available would love to sit down and talk with you about it (in-person or virtually).
We can't wait to have you join the work! Thanks for all you're doing!
The STAY Project Staff & Steering Committee
Dear STAY Members and allies,
Youth organizing in central Appalachia has never been more important than it is right now.
As the world waits and watches to see how this new chapter of American politics will play out, we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect here in the mountains. Conservative politicians who do not represent the interests of many of our members have swept positions of power across Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and threaten the safety and well-being of our communities, our access to healthcare, and our efforts to build a more just and sustainable Appalachian economy.
But this isn’t the end of the world. The majority of the people in our communities and our region have rallied behind big promises of returning jobs, restoring coal, and reverting to “better days,” and I can understand why they want those things. I just don’t believe that those promises will come true, and even if they do, at what cost to other parts of our communities and well-being? Either way, I don’t believe these old, white, cisgender men are the future we deserve.
And I think about the youth and children and next generations of Appalachians, many of whom weren’t old enough to vote, but who will be living in the world that is becoming our new reality. As my friend Charlsa Hensley said,
Adults will be fine. We can lean on our communities and a long history of struggle and survival. We can find the help we need and we can be the help that others need. But for the next four years, please remember to be a positive and loving force to all children. Children of immigrants and children from lesbian and gay households and children questioning their gender or sexuality and children in low-income households or school districts, and especially the children of bigoted parents. We're going to need all of them to fix our colossal mistake.
Empowering young people and working together to build the Appalachia we all believe in is exactly why the STAY Project exists.
This weekend, we will welcome four amazing new members onto the 9th STAY Steering Committee, and begin planning our next year of organizing and action. And that’s where you come in. As a grassroots organization, we need your voice and participation. Here are three ways you can take action today:
1. Hold loving space for yourself, your friends, your family, your community. We’re all different people in different places, and we’ll all process the coming days differently. Please take any space you need, and do what you can to get your needs met. If that means spending time with others or supporting them, then that’s just a win-win!
2. Tell us what you need. The more we know about what’s going on in your life and your community, what challenges you’re facing and what opportunities you see, the more effectively we can take action as an organization. If you hear about a job, send it our way. If you’d like to learn something, or if you have a skill to share, let us know, and we’ll see if we can make connections. The more we share, the stronger our network becomes.
3. Donate to STAY to help us continue what we do. In the last year, we stopped a Bathroom Bill in eastern Kentucky, organized a Summer Institute in North Carolina, led an Intersectionality workshop at the Appalachian Studies Conference in West Virginia, and supported with a solidarity action for Standing Rock in Tennessee. Any resources you can contribute will help us support our long-term strategy for youth in Appalachia and continue to take action.
Thank you for your strength in these times of change in our region, and thank you for being involved in our movement. If you want to learn more about STAY, find out how to get involved, donate, or get in touch, visit www.thestayproject.com, find us on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t stop dreaming. The future is ours, and together, we can make it better.
Izzy Broomfield & the STAY Steering Committee
For Immediate Release
THE STAY PROJECT INVITES YOU TO THE 6TH ANNUAL STAY SUMMER INSTITUTE
Contact: Lou Murrey or Kendall Bilbrey
Tel. 828-773-1969 or 276-620-9264
The 6th Annual STAY Summer Institute will take place July 22nd-25th, 2016 at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC.
The STAY Summer Institute is a 4 day, regional gathering hosted by The STAY (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Project providing creative gathering space for youth with leadership development, cultural sharing, political analysis, and kinship with youth from across the Appalachian region at the forefront.
This weekend in the mountains will include youth designed & facilitated workshops across many topics, full-group activities around art, music, storytelling, and political discussion led and facilitated by youth, and identity caucus space for youth of color and LGBTQIA youth.
Anyone aged 14-30 living in Appalachia is encouraged to sign up for this weekend of learning, empowerment and fun! To register for the STAY Summer Institute visit our website www.thestayproject.com/register-for-stay-summer-institute. The cost for 4 days of lodging, meals, and events is a sliding scale up to $160 total, with partial or full scholarships available on a first come, first serve basis. Please indicate on your registration if you need a full or partial scholarship as soon as possible.
The registration deadline is July 15th, 2016.
About The STAY Project:
The Stay Project is a diverse regional network of young people working together to create, advocate for, and participate in safe, sustainable, engaging and inclusive communities throughout Appalachia and beyond. To learn more or if you have any questions please visit www.thestayproject.com or email us at email@example.com.
Letcher Governance Project holds silent protest at SOAR Innovation Summit in opposition to proposed federal prison
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2016
Eric King – (606) 634-5896
Ada Smith – (606) 303-2677
Members of the Letcher Governance Project are holding a nonviolent silent protest this morning at the SOAR Innovation Summit in Pikeville, Ky. The group demands more creative and innovative solutions for eastern Kentucky’s economy than an additional federal prison.
The protest is part of the group’s #our444million social media campaign, which was launched after the announcement that $444 million in taxpayer dollars had been allocated for the development of a federal prison in Letcher County. The campaign aims to demonstrate that there are better economic solutions for the region than prisons, and $444 million would go a long way towards implementing those solutions.
The Letcher Governance Project is additionally concerned with the gradual increase of prisons in the central Appalachian region. Proposed USP Letcher will be the fourth prison that Congressman Hal Rogers has worked to bring to eastern Kentucky. The three previous examples – prisons in McCreary, Martin and Clay counties – have not significantly contributed to the economies of those communities. Two recently-opened prisons in nearby Wise County, Virginia, have also failed to deliver on early promises of jobs and economic benefits. The Letcher Governance Project points to these counties as proof that prisons do not boost rural economies.
The campaign and protest demonstrate that many people from the area oppose the prison, contrary to the statements of local officials, Congressman Hal Rogers, and the Bureau of Prisons. The Letcher Governance Project has submitted dozens of comments to the Bureau of Prisons citing social, economic and environmental concerns with the development process of proposed USP Letcher. However, Congressman Rogers and the Bureau of Prisons have consistently refused to acknowledge these concerns in public statements, despite the fact that many of them come from Congressman Rogers’ constituents.
The Letcher Governance Project is therefore protesting Congressman Hal Rogers’ presence at the SOAR Innovation Summit, and calls on the Congressman to consider other solutions to eastern Kentucky’s economy. In this time of economic transition, eastern Kentucky residents demand solutions that foster healing, improved working conditions, and better standards of living. Residents across the region have used the #our444million hashtag to envision what that kind of economy might look like, and we urge Congressman Rogers to acknowledge and act on those ideas.
Finally, the Letcher Governance Project wishes to express solidarity with groups working across the country to change the United States criminal justice system by stating unequivocally that black lives matter to eastern Kentuckians. This country overwhelmingly imprisons more people of color than white people, and we refuse to allow our local economies to be dependent on this form of racist exploitation.