Civics

Black Policy Day and Delta Day Held at State Capitol

Hundreds in attendance to hear from speakers who shared their experience and expertise on policy issues impacting Black West Virginians and why it’s important for Black West Virginians to participate in the policymaking process.

Doorman Rev. Dungy Reads Black By God In The WV House

Black Policy Day and Delta Day Held at State Capitol

Charleston, WV - On Friday, February 11th, a collaboration of West Virginia organizations held a series of events focused on policy issues impacting Black West Virginians. Organizers said one of the goals was to create space for West Virginians that have been historically oppressed or ignored to share their stories.

Dr. Shanequa Smith, with Black Voters Initiative who helped spearhead the day’s events, said, “By working collectively, we are making Black History Month come alive. By showing up, we are creating history right now that we will be proud of.”

At the press conference in the lower rotunda of the State Capitol, hundreds in attendance heard from speakers who shared their experience and expertise on policy issues impacting Black West Virginians and shared why it’s important for Black West Virginians to participate in the policymaking process.

Numerous pieces of legislation were discussed, including HB 2257, a bill that is up for passage in the House on Monday, which would require an additional ten years of extended supervision for people convicted of drug felonies involving fentanyl.

Crystal Allen with WV Families of Convicted People said, “House Bill 2257 is just more of the same failed war on drugs policies. It will lead to more people behind bars in our overcrowded jails, and it will put up barriers to re-entry. We need our legislature to say no to this bill.”

Yvonne Lee with Fairness WV discussed how West Virginia’s delegation in U.S. Congress has failed to deliver for West Virginians by not passing the Build Back Better bill, including black lung benefits for miners. “Change is made in numbers. We have to remember how we vote these people into office. We have to remember when they say they’re doing this for the people. What people are you really doing it for?”

One of the organizers of the day and publisher of Black By God: THE WEST VIRGINIAN, Crystal Good, who released a special Legislative and Black History issue at the event, “So many Black Capitol staffers are saying they have never seen this many Black people in the Capitol. It’s truly the people’s house today.”

The day at the State Capitol also included stations where attendees wrote postcards to their legislators, attendance at House floor session, meetings with legislators, and a roundtable discussion in the Governor’s press room.

The coalition supporting this press event includes: Deltas Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Call to Action for Racial Equality, WV Black Voter Impact Initiative, and Black By God THE WEST VIRGINIAN

Photo By Kyle Vass

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