Wilma Steele: Come See Blood on the Mountain

sunsetsep4Here’s a note from OVEC member Wilma Steele, pictured above:

WHAT:      West Virginia State Premiere of the documentary film Blood On The Mountain

WHERE:    West Virginia State Culture Center, Capitol Complex

WHEN:      Friday, September 4 – 6:00 p.m. Doors open, 7:00 p.m. film starts

Reserve your free tickets now, click here.

My name is Wilma Steele. I was born on Buffalo Creek, in the little town of Lundale. There is a photograph from my childhood of my mother’s best friend standing in her beautiful yard next to a meticulously-crafted flowerbed. The Buffalo Creek flood took the home, the yard, the flowers: they now exist only in my memory and in this photograph. When the dam burst, it swept away all but memories, leaving destruction in its wake.

My husband Terry is a UMWA miner who spent 26 years underground. Today, we are watching his union brothers and sisters swept away in wave after wave of layoffs as the mountains are blasted away around us. We have fought for mountains and the rights of workers, and see no contradiction between the fights as Appalachians who know our history. We helped start the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum because we believe that only by remembering our full history can we find a path forward through these troubling times.

America is facing difficult times, much like those that West Virginia has endured time and time again. Workers and our environment both are being taken advantage of and taken for granted. But there is hope. By coming together, we can work for justice, protect the places we live, and have good, well-paying jobs.

In West Virginia, we often talk about our coal and energy giving light to America. We believe that the most valuable light we can give to America is the light of our stories, history, and how we got to be where we are. Blood on the Mountain is full of this kind of light, from the Mine Wars to the Buffalo Creek Flood  to the Upper Big Branch disaster. In these hard times, we believe this light is a valuable gift, to help make sure other places don’t make the same mistakes that we have.

We want to welcome you to Blood on the Mountain, a film we are proud to appear in.

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Learn more about the film here.

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