Appalachian Coalition to March on Blair Mountain June 4-11

By scott parkin

I’ve been part of the movement to end mountaintop removal for five years now.

In 2008, RAN and I helped organize blockade actions against Dominion Energy which was building a new coal fired power plant in Wise, VA. In 2009 and 2010, we worked in solidarity with Appalachian and direct action groups in southern West Virginia taking action on mountaintop removal sites. During that same time, we waged a campaign to end mountaintop removal against the EPA and Wall Street banks like Chase and PNC Bank.

Last fall, we participated in Appalachia Rising, which brought thousands of Appalachians, friends and allies for a mass march and direct action in Washington D.C. 120 of us were arrested doing a sit-in in front of the White House. Now our friends in Appalachia are organizing a mass march, rally and action at Blair Mountain.

Blair Mountain is the site of the 2nd largest insurrection in U.S. history (after the Civil War.) The battle took place in 1921 and saw 8,000-10,000 miners fighting for union rights take up arms against the coal industry’s gun thugs. Now coal companies have stripped Blair Mountain of it’s historical landmark status and want to strip mine it.

A coalition of environmental, labor, student, community and activist groups have come together to stop the strip mining of Blair Mountain.  Beginning on June 4th, a march will begin that will retrace the steps of the 1921 march.

March on Blair Mountain Logistics

1) Attend the March, Rally AND Day of Action

Participants that plan to attend The March should arrive in Charleston, WV on the afternoon or evening of June 4th to be shuttled to Marmet, WV. Our Orientation Day will begin the following morning in Marmet, WV–it is critical that participants attend this Orientation Day in order for us to have a safe and effective march. Marchers will move out Monday morning and, over the next five days, march 50 miles to the town of Blair, WV, arriving on June 10th. The following morning, on June 11th, The Rally and Day of Action will begin in Blair. Shuttles will be available to take participants back to their vehicles in Charleston once the event is over.

2) Attend just the Rally and Day of Action

Participants that plan to attend just The Rally and Day of Action should arrive in Logan, WV on the morning of Friday June 10th if they are able. Beginning at 1pm on June 10th, we will be hosting a Training Day in Logan, WV so that participants will be prepared for the events the following day. If you need to arrive on the evening of June 9th, or the morning of June 11th, accommodations will be available. Again, we strongly encourage those that are able to attend the Training Day on the 10th.

Hope to see you there!