Born and Raised in Ward 8
OPINION by Charleston City Council Candidate Malyka Knapp-Smith
Photo By Chris Jackson
My name is Malyka Knapp-Smith.
I am a lifelong resident of Ward 8 and an independent candidate in West Virginia for Charleston City Council. “Born and Raised in Ward 8” is my campaign slogan, and my father, Dr. Cubert Smith, served on Charleston City Council for 12 years until his death in 2018. He was running for his 4th term serving the people of Charleston when he was stricken with a series of strokes. He was indeed a man for the people of our ward. Charleson’s first Black Fire chief, Chuck Overstreet, and current city council member, was mentored by my Dad. Chuck shares a story about my Dad being named after James Cubert Campbell, Charleston’s first Black City Councilperson over one hundred years ago. Read The Cambell Family Story on BBG
I am running to continue that legacy.
I need your vote on November 8th to make our city a better place for all of us. But, as with all elections, this election depends on us working together to be the change we want to see, so your vote is just the beginning.
What do we need on the East End of Charleston? A grocery store!
I know this will be a challenge, but I have colleagues running for adjacent East End wards working with me to solve this. Of course, we also have the challenge of abandoned properties, homelessness, and addiction.
The future is in our hands. Due to a shrinking population, West Virginia lost a seat in Congress, meaning a weaker voice in Washington, D.C. That puts more importance on banding together for positive change. We must not become complacent and only fight for single issues. It’s about the future of our state and generations to come.
As an adult educator at Mountain State Educational Serrvices Cooperative in Kanawha County, I see students come to our new building (500 Leon Sullivan Way) and work to make something of themselves and to feel they matter. Voting is one way to show you matter and to let your voice be heard.
Your voice matters. Your opinion matters.
A recent article shows that West Virginia’s minority population consists of 3.7% Black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 1.0% Hispanic or Latino, 0.0% Native American or Alaska Native, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 1.1% two or more races. While it’s a slim margin, elections have been decided on less. We still have a voice, and we need to use it.
Along with other candidates, I was invited to Capital High School to meet with seniors registering to vote for the first time. It was refreshing to talk with so many students interested in the future of Charleston and what we, as elected officials, could work toward. No empty promises, just a pledge to work together to continue to make Charleston the place we call home.
I am home. I’m not planning to move.
I want to work to make Charleston a place where more local graduates put down roots and never leave. We owe it to our beautiful state to stay and help keep it Wild and Wonderful West “by God” Virginia.
You can find out more about me at https://www.malykaknappsmithforward8.com/, and remember, we vote at Garnet (422 Dickinson Street) on November 8!
Sign up for our newsletter
Get the latest headlines from Black by God right in your inbox weekly.
More in Civics from Black by God
Opinion by Donna Willis
OPINION By Donna Willis
Commentary By Jacki Mulay: A Lesson In Hair Controversy
These students are fighting back. Aaron Reedy and Lonnie Medley, Morgantown High school seniors, attend a protest at the Monongalia County Board of Education building.
OPINION BY DONNA WILLIS ON SENATOR JOE MANCHIN THE THIRD
West Virginia Education Officials fail to address unfair Black suspension rate, “school to prison” pipeline continues unabated.
West Virginia ignored recommendations for fixing racial disparities in public school discipline
Community leaders aren’t convinced yet another report is the answer
The 1974 textbook war a precursor to the conflict around critical race theory PERVERTING THE CHILDREN
We are going to lose the United States of America.
Del. Danielle Walker reflects on Juneteenth as City of Morgantown issues proclamation recognizing day of commemoration
Honoring History and The Walker Family
An Open Letter To Senators Rucker, Azinger, Sypolt, Karnes, Maynard and Delegates Pritt, Smith, Tully, Longanacre, G. Ward, Maynor, Crouse, Clark, Horst, and Hanna
The Tuesday Morning Group requests allocation of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to support initiatives in West Virginia’s census tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher
As West Virginia’s crisis of jail overcrowding and rising incarceration rates continue, justice-impacted people and criminal law reform advocates rallied Tuesday at the State Capitol on various pieces of legislation currently under consideration.
West Virginia will continue to have a Legislature that looks less and less like the demographics of the state as a whole, with women and people of color further underrepresented in House and Senate chambers, and with white men over-represented by a factor of 185 percent.
When I bring up the fact that Black West Virginians make up less than 4% of the state’s population but 19% of the non-violent cannabis arrests, they’re not trying to hear it." ~ Rusty Williams
West Virginia has $1.335 billion from American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to spend in the next four years KANAWHA COUNTY: $34,598,499 MONONGALIA COUNTY: $20,513,893 MCDOWELL COUNTY: $3,423,255 CHARLESTON: $36,801,358 BECKLEY: $7,698,933 JANE LEW: $160,000 KERMIT: $150,000 OCEANA: $500,000
"..be able to swat down a bad-faith argument before it begins can go a long way in centering the most important topics." ~ Senator Owens Brown.
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.
On Jan. 17 nine people were arrested during a protest in downtown Charleston. The protesters were calling on Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
"People of color need policies to thrive in West Virginia. We protest in the streets and go to court for things we are not protected by. Black people are always fighting for all and never make those elected officials accountable." Del. Walker
West Virginians and New Yorkers Demand The Passage of Voting Rights Act In Historic Black Church In Charleston West Virginia
Policy & Process
In November 2021 Black By God published an article “Young Women ‘Match Harassment’ at Abortion Clinic with Motivational Messages” 🗞 In 2022 they share that story on the WV Capitol steps.
Black West Virginians must reconsider our support of Senator Joe Manchin who blocked several pieces of legislation that could have benefited Black people.
As Senator Manchin continues to negotiate with his colleagues in Washington, our families here at home continue to suffer.
A Community Journalism Project
Impression of the presentation regarding the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants In West Virginia by Samuel Moss
By Folk Reporter and Charleston Native Samuel Moss - Husband, Father, Inventor
We know there is no real democracy when the public is not actively participating in the legislative process. #useyourvoice That’s why we’re calling upon BBG readers to speak loudly through your online platforms to ensure your representatives still hear how their policy decisions will impact your life.
YOUNG, BLACK, & GIFTED in West Virginia Policy
OUR MOST READ 2021 STORY West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Petty Pursuit Of Greenbrier East’s Boys Basketball Coaching Job
"Justice has to take everything personally because otherwise, he’d have to live in the world of facts, and those are rarely on his side."
Folk Reporters And Survey Input Needed
As we plan for a curious 2022 Legislative Session. A look back at the 2021 West Virginia Black policy agenda with BBG Folk Reporter Kate Jordan.
How public tensions of African American leaders openly advanced debate and provide forums for philosophical disagreement.
Republican Legislators Recognize Racism and White Supremacy In West Virginia.
Sen. Capito’s Lack of Support for the Freedom to Vote Act & Spread of Misinformation to West Virginian Constituents
November 5, 2021, a coalition of West Virginia Faith Leaders, Community Organizers, and Activist from across West Virginia and the country held a nonviolent demonstration blocking the entrance of Senator Joe Manchin’s Charleston office.
The window of opportunity for action on Cannabis Reform in West Virginia is wide open! Change for West Virginians is more possible more than ever before.
Much like Nero fiddling while Rome was on fire, far too many of our politicians are more interested in self-preservation than preserving our democracy.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death and disability among Black males ages 15-34. Communities of color, specifically Black neighborhoods, families, and youth, are disproportionately impacted by community violence and trauma.
West Virginia doesn’t need qualified immunity. We need assurance that our officers will truly protect and serve our communities.
While it was exciting that the WVDP finally developed the diversity caucuses, we left the first meeting with the executive committee deflated.
“We’ve had no input on this plan,” said Hollis Lewis, co-chair of the party’s recently formed Affirmative Action Committee.
West Virginia has the microphone. Use it!
How can we help the Class Of 2021 in West Virginia as they begin their lives in the adult world of decision-making?
#wvleg #wvpol #Blackpolicy
Something To Celebrate In West Virginia
As crossover day and the close of the WV Legislature is approaching, Black By God Folk Reporter Kate Jordan shares how her session began.
Enjoy Our Sunday Cartoon.