Our monthly meetings are held via Zoom at present and generally occur every third Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The link for the March meeting will be published a few days before the event.
Community Coalition for Social Justice/Dismantling Racism Together Community Forum
On February 3, 2021, at 7:00 PM via Zoom, there was a Community Forum to talk about ideas for Dismantling Racism.
Dismantling Racism Together is a small group of people who came together last fall with energy to seek ways to combat systemic racism in our community. Through monthly Zoom meetings, members have been learning about racism and specifically how the NAACP and ACLU approach the topic. After learning about CCSJ’s broad community reach, having an information gathering community forum was suggested.
Simply put, we hope the meeting will be a time for participants to share what is on their racism-related agenda, identify local examples of systemic racism and, if there is sufficient energy, test the waters to identify/prioritize an initiative. At a minimum, we would identify areas for dismantling work and learn of the allies in the community.
The following topical areas are suggested for the agenda:
1. identify local examples of systemic racism,
2. what is on the racism-related agenda of other participants,
3. what are others, not present, doing to combat systemic racism, and,
4. identify/prioritize an initiative.
The Morgantown Human Rights Commission has asked us to comment at the February 23rd Morgantown City Council Committee of the Whole meeting in support of their proposed resolutions on land acknowledgement, Indigenous People’s Day, and CROWN non-discrimination. We “debuted” the land acknowledgement statement during our Martin Luther King, Jr., Day event and have added our name to the documentation that Bonnie Brown, coordinator of the West Virginia University Native American Studies Program, is compiling to present to City Council in support of that resolution and the one on Indigenous People’s Day. These resolutions were scheduled for presentation in January but were postponed to February. We expect to also support CROWN non-discrimination. Copies of the resolutions are here: 1) Land Acknowledgement; 2) Indigenous People's Day; 3) CROWN non-discrimination.
Bonnie Brown, Jena Martin, and Don Spencer will make the presentations at the Committee of the Whole meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the virtual meeting. There will be a public comment period on the agenda immediately following the presentations to allow for 2–3-minute comments. The hope is that the resolutions will come-up for City Council's public hearings at 7:00 p.m. at the virtual meeting on March 2. The vote on whether to adopt would follow.
Don Spencer is asking for letters of support to Mayor Dulaney for Council review on the three applications as soon as possible. The date for the Committee of the Whole meeting is February 23rd, but the deadline for the agenda preparation is February 16. The Mayor's Council email address provided on the City website is: email@example.com. Please send copies of your letters to Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to watch the City Council meetings online or comment on these resolutions during the public portion, go to http://www.morgantownwv.gov/AgendaCenter and click on the “download” button for the agenda for the meeting you wish to watch. The agenda is usually posted on the Friday before the meeting.
CCSJ has received a grant of $2,000 from the FirstEnergy Foundation to support our work. We thank Elizabeth Durr, who works in the Regional External Affairs office, for her initiative in making this possible and will keep everyone posted as we decide how to use this generous gift.
This took place on January 18th, 2021 via Zoom. The theme was “West Virginia Civil Rights Leaders.” It was co-sponsored with the WVU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Main Street Morgantown, and the Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP, and we thank them for their great help.
Ilene Evans provided a virtual portrayal of West Virginian Memphis Tennessee Garrison as our featured event for the day. According to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, “Teacher and civic activist Memphis Tennessee Carter (March 3, 1890-July 25, 1988) was born in Hollins, Virginia. . .. she grew up in the southern West Virginia coalfields. . ..
Garrison graduated from Bluefield State College in 1939. She taught school in McDowell County and also served as a welfare worker for the U.S. Steel Company in Gary, its company town. In this latter capacity, she helped to settle racial disputes, provided counseling to black miners and their families, and developed cultural and recreational opportunities for residents of the area.
Garrison was active with the Republican Party and with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She helped to develop and sustain chapters of the NAACP in southern West Virginia, and served as a national vice president and as a field secretary who undertook special organizing and membership activities. One of her most important achievements was the creation of the Christmas Seal Project, which became an important fund-raising effort for the NAACP.” The photo is from e-WV here.
We are pleased that The Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP invited DeMarcus Bandy to participate in our program as their representative. His presentation was on “Structural and Systemic Racism and How to Build an Equitable Future.” DeMarcus is a 13-year-old 8th grader at Mountaineer Middle School. He participates in the TAG program and is a member of the Varsity basketball and track teams. He aspires to be a robotics engineer in the future. That was his 3rd year participating in this event. The WVNews published an article about DeMarcus and his talk. Go here to see it.
We will also welcomed Hope Koehler singing the African-American spiritual “Hold on” and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Dr. Barbara Howe gave a presentation on West Virginia's Civil Rights Leaders: download here for the PDF version. And the Morgantown Mayor, Ron Dulaney, and the President of the Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP, Dr. Jerry Carr Jr., each gave short speeches: see YouTube video.
We appreciate the financial support from the City of Morgantown for this program.
We have submitted our funding request to the City of Morgantown for funding for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 2022 and signed a contract with the Metropolitan Theatre with the hope that we can all gather again there next year. Please let us know if you have ideas as we begin to plan this event.
For several years, the City of Morgantown provided funds for us to purchase library books focused on social justice issues for the Morgantown Public Library on Spruce Street. With funds from the Appalachian Community Foundation, we also purchased books for the Clinton District and Clay-Battelle Branch Libraries. Most of these are books for children. The library has added some of these at the Arnettsville branch.
The lists for have been updated and are available now here. There are two lists. One is exclusively books focused on African Americans. The other list includes our former environmental justice and economic justice lists. There is an index on page 3 of the “catalog” that includes links to the various topics so that you can easily find something that might interest you.The library is now open enough that people can order books and pick them up curbside. For more information on this procedure, please go here.
To download and view the 2019-20 CCSJ Annual Report please click here.
Please send your web site suggestions to Mike Attfield at email@example.com. Please contact any of the steering committee members to volunteer to help and to share your suggestions for our work or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send items to share with our membership to Barb Howe at email@example.com.
Please also remember to send your dues - $10 for individuals and $25 for organizations – to CCSJ, PO Box 160, Morgantown, WV 26507-0160. You can join or donate by credit card via PayPal on this web site. Go to Join Us.