Who We Are
The mission of the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is to build a multi-state campaign that amplifies black voices, dismantles the colonized narrative of Appalachia, and uses story-based strategies and solutions that center the voices and lived experience of Black Appalachians.
The Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) is an initiative of Black Women Rising, an organization that leverages black women’s organizing skills, leadership potential and political power to influence and positively impact the community.
Bishop Marcia Dinkins, executive director of Black Women Rising, launched the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) on June 18, 2021, as an initiative to ensure accurate and inclusive accounts are being told. In addition to her roles at Black Women Rising and BLAC, Bishop Dinkins serves as the part-time executive director for Ohioans for Sustainable Change (formerly Ohio Interfaith Power and Light). Bishop Dinkins brings a wealth of knowledge to this work, with a background in community organizing related to domestic violence, health and safety, education, climate, environment, employment and criminal justice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary and Women and Gender Studies (University of Toledo) and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Policy (Youngstown State University). Currently, Bishop Dinkins is a Ph.D. candidate at Union Institute and University focusing on Public Policy and Social Change.
Members reside in the Ohio River Valley of Central Appalachia, which spans Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Although the Appalachian region produces the raw materials that fuel prosperity across America, it is home to some of the most impoverished communities in the nation. Since the early 1980s, the region has experienced downward mobility. Absentee corporations and extractive industries have left the land scarred, and the people sick.
Black Appalachians are among those hardest hit. They have suffered economic and cultural losses, often ignored. This invisibility results in Black communities shouldering the heaviest burdens of economic distress and environmental damage.
Want to join the movement to elevate Black voices? Click here to learn more and Join the Coalition.