For several years I walked the thick white marble hallway of the West Virginia capitol as a lobbyist. I started teaching myself the craft during theWest Virginia Water crisis of 2014 and the subsequent Aboveground Storage “Tank Bill.”
I’m still learning.
I quickly learned my policy education from “I’m only a bill on Capitol Hill“wasn’t enough.
I got curious about how the Legislature really worked.
I became a paid grass-roots lobbyist. I lobbied for the hard stuff: clean water, clean air, women’s health, medical cannabis, industrial hemp, local farms, and programs to bridge food insecurities.
Since then I’ve observed year after year the lack of Black faces, and a unified Black agenda at the WV Capitol. For 60 days, the white men who run the Capitol are in their own tiny West Virginia white worlds.
Lack of visibility comes at a cost.
Senator Robert. C Byrd, as awkward as an apology is his statement, “…black people love their grandsons as much as I love mine,“sounds, even
found that human connection comes when people see people.
At 4% of the population, Black people in West Virginia are not seen.
Perhaps that’s what enabled a Delegate to speak on the House floor last year that Black people are “imaginary” and “fairy tales.”
However, our tiny Black population is enough to threaten elections. (Ask Joe Manchin) And maybe that’s why Republicans are trying to block a voting site in a Black district. #blackvotersmatter
This year, if the West Virginia supermajority Republican Legislature has its way, Black history will be whitewashed.
This includes the history of the father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson, the Huntington, West Virginia native whose success can only be told in the context of white supremacy.
In our so-called democracy, we are accustomed to give the majority what they want rather than educate them to understand what is best for them. Carter G. Woodson
Read about HB4011. (this is but one of dozens moving in the Legislature)
West Virginia is in crisis. Ignorance abounds but, we press on!
BBG’s next press date is Feb. 11th.
This issue is our largest to date and will be available hot offthe press at the Capitol for the Feb. 11th Day of Black Policy Action.
So please join us in the lower rotunda of the Capitol on Feb. 11th, 2022, starting at 9 AM to help distribute BBG to every lawmaker.
If you can’t join us, please ORDER a copy or copies of this special West Virginia Legislative Black History, history-making edition.
~ C. Good