Press: Black Appalachian Coalition aims to shift narrative on energy, other issues

Home / Press / Press: Black Appalachian Coalition aims to shift narrative on energy, other issues
Press: Black Appalachian Coalition aims to shift narrative on energy, other issues

Appalachia’s people of color have borne greater social and economic burdens, on average, than their White counterparts, but their stories are often left out of policy discussions about energy and other issues in the region.                             

Appalachia’s people of color have borne greater social and economic burdens, on average, than their White counterparts, but their stories are often left out of policy discussions about energy and other issues in the region. A new coalition is now seeking to amplify those unheard voices.

The Black Appalachian Coalition is an initiative of Black Women Rising. Bishop Marcia Dinkins, the group’s founder and executive director, recently talked with the Energy News Network about its work to shift from a single story about Appalachia.

Q: Why do we need conversations with Appalachia’s people of color about the effects of fossil fuels, pollution and other problems?

A: “We should be having these conversations because Black people are impacted,” Dinkins said. “And when we look at the inequities with regards to exploitation, extraction and exclusion — historically and presently — it continues to divest from these voices.”

As she sees it, people often have one view of America and a separate view of rural America that is primarily White. By numbers, Black people are a small minority in many parts of Appalachia. “But it does not mean there should be an absence of these rural voices.”

Q: What’s the result of a system that doesn’t seek out and listen to stories from people of color?

A: “It keeps them outside of policymaking. It keeps them outside of being a part of legislation that’s moving to improve the quality of life for others, but not for them,” Dinkins said. “They’re outside the conversation. They’re not at the table.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety on Energy News Network.