Pictures from our steering committee meeting. While at Narrow Ridge we got to experience what it is like to live off-grid and have to rely on a lean-solar system for power and a wood stove for heat. We also had the opportunity to learn from Mitzi Wood-Von Mizener and Bill Nickle about Narrow Ridge’s natural burial ground, as well as how a land trust works.
To learn more about Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy visit: http://narrowridge.org/
The STAY Project believes everyone deserves basic human rights no matter where they live, their economic background, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, presentation or cultural background. We are stronger when we bring together and support diverse voices in our region and that our communities should support our youth of color and LGBTQ youth living in the region. We do not believe that white supremacists have a place in our communities.
This moment, in the wake of the rally in Charlottesville this weekend, calls on us to reflect on one of STAY Project's core beliefs, that we have the ability to shape our own narratives about the past, present, and future of our region.
When we shape the narratives of our past we are called to recognize and confront the ways in which white supremacy has erased the histories of indigenous, black, and brown folx in Appalachia, just as we are called to remember our regional history of resistance.
When we shape the narratives of our present we are called to recognize and confront white supremacy in our lives and our communities. We are called to acknowledge that what happened in Charlottesville is not an isolated event, we know this because in April of this year white supremacists descended on Pikeville, KY and were met with local resistance and support. Furthermore, we cannot forget that white supremacy isn't always as apparent as a rally, it is institutional and pervasive in our everyday lives and conversations.
When we shape the narratives of our future we are called to decide if we will continue to let white supremacy have a seat at the table in our communities.
To young white folx in Appalachia, this starts by having conversations with your families, your friends, your communities about white supremacy. Conversations that will be difficult and stressful and urgent, as a comrade who was up in Charlottesville wrote, "resistance will always require giving up some degree of comfort."
To young folx of color in Appalachia, your lives, your histories, your stories matter. We are committed to lifting your stories.
To our STAY members and comrades who organized and put their bodies and lives on the line in Charlottesville we are so grateful for you, we love you and we are here for you.
The STAY Project is committed to sustainable, engaging, and inclusive communities in Appalachia, we are committed to the broader movement of Southern resistance, we are committed to collective liberation.
Love & Solidarity,
The STAY Project
Here area couple immediate ways to plug-in:
Comprehensive List of Defend Charlottesville Donation Funds
From the Movement for Black Lives: Confront Hate from Charlottesville to the White House call on Monday August 14th. Register Here
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