As the West Virginia legislative session draws to a close, I find myself feeling a sense of relief, not because of the slew of harmful bills that have passed, but because I see a great need for the work of Folk Reporters and the potential impact of BBG and Black Policy Day in 2024 and beyond. Both political parties, Republicans and Democrats, need the support of Black West Virginians.
Republicans, in particular, have ignored and marginalized the Black population. Yet, under Democratic leadership, West Virginia lost over 50% of its Black population. The upcoming Republican primary for Governor in West Virginia is sure to be full of commercials and mailers trying to outdo each other in who has the most guns, the most judgmental god, the most anti-anti-abortion, and LGBTQ+ positions. I won’t be surprised if the run-offs may include who eats the most coal for breakfast, and we are already seeing the "Fighting Governor" boxing matches.
Republican primary candidates would do well to remember that there is a Black voting population in their midst who could make or break their campaigns. Rumors are swirling about Joe Manchin’s political ambitions and whether he will run as a Democrat or an Independent. Either way, Manchin’s decision to run, to not run, if he switches parties, or not – his decision will change West Virginia. Today I learned that BBG was rejected for office space at a community facility due to our perceived political nature. Some people have said we are too political, others not political enough. As a hands-on publisher, my beliefs inevitably seep through, but I hope BBG is seen as a factual and necessary resource.
BBG is listening to our readers and working hard to build a community that will hold us accountable.I am proud of our work with Folk Reporters, and while the project still needs a lot of work, we have been overwhelmed with support and appreciation for the #folkreporters movement.I encourage you to support and critique our work as we strive for accountability, representation, and media justice for Black West Virginians.