This week, the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) announced the upcoming dates for its first policy summit occurring July 22-24, 2022. The inaugural event, being held virtually, will center around the core theme of Black storytelling as a precondition for policymaking.
The multi-day regional summit seeks to amplify Black voices and influence effective, community-centered policies. Click here to view the agenda.
“Black people are missing from the policymaking table. Participatory policymaking does not include us,” said Bishop Marcia Dinkins, founder of the Black Appalachian Coalition and executive director of Black Women Rising.
Historically, Black communities have been silenced and their stories erased from the Appalachian region. Despite efforts to whitewash our existence, Black Appalachians have played a critical role in the social and economic development of Appalachia. From Black workers in the coal and steel industries to midwives in the care economy, Black people have had a powerful presence. These are the stories that have to be shared. These are the stories that serve as the precursor to advocacy and policy change. By changing the narrative, BLAC can begin to change the power structure of the region and confront the discriminatory practices which left Black Appalachians with fewer opportunities than their white neighbors.
“Storytelling has the power to persuade decision-makers and provoke action to implement more inclusive policies. Now is the time to tell the story. Now is the time to build. Now is the time for Black people to be seen. Now is the time for us to be at the table. Now is the time for policies to recognize us. Now is the time for the media to speak about the lived experience of
Black people. Now is the time for our truth to be told. Now is the time for people to recognize that Black people have always been a part of the fabric of this nation and if you want to heal the soul of this nation you’ve got to hear the story of Black people,” explained Bishop Marcia Dinkins.
Summit attendees can participate in the following:
Storytelling Workshop: Understand how your story plays a role in shaping and defining policy using story-based strategies and solutions.
Policy 101: Comprehend what policymaking entails, how it affects your community, and how to use it to leverage change.
Story Mapping: Learn the best practices for how to weave your stories with others to build relationships and a collective narrative of the Black Appalachian experience.
The State of Black Appalachia: Take a deeper dive into what’s at stake for Black Appalachia. Build discussion around the unique challenges Black Appalachians still face, the progress made, and how you can make a difference in your community.
Admission to the summit is free! The summit takes place Friday, July 22nd from 6-8 p.m., Saturday, July 23rd from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, July 24th from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. You can register here to attend.
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