For Immediate Release March 6, 2020
ATHENS, OH – This week, the Women of Appalachia Project™ (WOAP™) announced that Vivian Stockman, executive director of OVEC, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, is the recipient of the 2020 Women of Appalachia Project™ Appalachian Advocate Award.
This award is given annually to a woman who has dedicated herself to enhancing the well-being of Appalachian culture, Appalachian women’s health, Appalachian families or Appalachian land issues. Since arriving in a small West Virginia community in the 1990s, Stockman has stood with local communities against well-heeled industries to fight for mountaintops, forests, water, and air.
According to nominator Susan Truxell Sauter, “Vivian Stockman serves as the person who links it all together—if it means coaching women living in coal communities on how and where to speak about the health impacts of such industry whether at a county commission meeting or even at the United Nations. She jumps the synapse, providing names, education, and media support. She meets people on their own ground, repeatedly, making a personal connection—while amplifying their truth with emails, tweets, essays, op-eds, newsletter articles, and award-winning photographs.”
Former OVEC Executive Director Janet Keating notes, “Vivian has developed long-term, trusting relationships with people in communities impacted by injustices of the coal industry. For example, she remains close to the Miller-Caudill family whose ancestral land and homeplace was surrounded and threatened by mountain top removal. The coal company had gone to court forcing the family to sell their land. Fortunately, the WV Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision. Vivian attended relevant hearings, communicated with family members and stood in solidarity with them. To this day, Vivian is invited to the Miller-Caudill annual family reunion.”
According to Kari Gunter-Seymour, executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project, WOAP is proud to lift up women such as this year’s award recipient.
Gunter-Seymour says, “Women often go unsung as they go about their work with passion and purpose, knowing what they do is truly for the good of all. Vivian is a prime example of someone who goes well beyond punching a time clock. Her dedication to the land is remarkable and should be celebrated.”
Update: Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Ohio the March 28 WOAP event at the Athena Theater has been cancelled. The award ceremony will now take place June 11 event at the Dairy Barn Art Center, Athens, OH.
Statement from Vivian Stockman on winning this award: