Statement on Receiving the Women of Appalachia Project’s 2020 Appalachian Advocate Award

2020 Woman of Appalachia Appalachian Advocate Award

Thank you WOAP! I am honored by this award, and, of course, this honor is not mine alone. I would not be in any position to receive such an award without the organization for which I work, OVEC, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. I began as a volunteer with OVEC in 1995. Though the work has been challenging, it has given meaning to my life.

OVEC consists of passionate volunteers, dues-paying members, a fantastic volunteer board of directors, and, at the moment, six other dedicated staff members. This award is a reflection on all of them, and they have my deepest gratitude.

OVEC is a strong believer in coalition work, so this award is also a reflection on our numerous allied groups, including the West Virginia Environmental Council, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, People Concerned About Chemical Safety, Huntington-Cabell NAACP, SouthWings, Our Future West Virginia, and so many others. OVEC has been able to accomplish much on the legal front thanks to the tireless attorneys at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Public Justice, Earthjustice, and Sierra Club. Professors, academics, journalists, filmmakers, artists and, of course, donors also have been a huge help to our work throughout the years.   

I am lucky to work with so many people who care so deeply about the future of life on Earth.

In acknowledging all who have a strong part in this award, I must say, “Love you, mom!” and love you, too, my family. Thank you for being so supportive.  

I must also acknowledge what has brought us all here, to this larger moment in American history, where we appear to be so bitterly divided as a nation. I know I am not alone in believing the adage that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. I know I am not alone in believing that we must acknowledge our past and make reparations for it if we are to improve our future. We stand on ground stolen from this continent’s original inhabitants. We live in a country shaped from genocide and brutal slavery. The impacts of these practices and institutions are with us still and now.

All this is what I think of when I accept this award. I cannot get anywhere without those who came before and without those who surround me now.

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The Author



  1. Thanks for being a wonderful,loving daughter. Since early childhood you have had a deep concern for others less fortunate than you and for this gorgeous planet that we live on. I very proud of you and your living commitment to what you believe in.

  2. I thank you for your long and preserving service. I look at the sky and mountains everyday, and understand very well we need to protect. Bob Weaver

  3. I will be forever and ever grateful to Vivion for Her Effort. Her Voice Her Gifts that she has shared to bring to focus MTR and the repercussions of our spiritual loss along with the environmental impact it has had on all of us
    (My family(Martin) is buried at the Berry’s Branch Cemetery)
    Thank you Vivion

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