Catching Up with Barbara Williamson
I’m doing really well here in Abingdon, Virginia. I am primarily working to end Mountain Top Removal (MTR). I am serving on the Board of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (the only organization in Virginia working primarily to stop MTR). I am the secretary, write grant proposals, and serve on several other committees. I am a representative to the Alliance for Appalachia, a group of non-profits working to end MTR, from the Sierra Club’s Appalachian Environmental Justice group. I also serve as the chair of the Environmental Justice committee of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. And with so little else to do, I am working to start a Sierra Club group in the five counties and one city centered where I live —Highlands group.
In coal country, people’s lives are in danger (see Hendryx’s work on health as one example); sometimes discernment seems like a luxury. What we don’t stop now may result in losses that will last forever.
Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS) has a weekend workshop each fall and invites people to come to learn about MTR first hand. QEW members are always welcome. We also sponsor Mountain Justice weekends, primarily for college students and young people in their 20s, but everyone is welcome. Mountain Justice spring, summer, and fall breaks offer a wide range of workshops, panel discussions, entertainment, and service projects. I think you will find spending time with the young people who attend Mountain Justice events as educational, inspiring, and fun as I do.
Check out the Mountain Justice website (http://mountainjustice.org/) for the event closest to you this spring, summer, and fall.
I am also working with the Highlands group of the Sierra Club and Virginia Organizing to keep hydro-fracking out of Washington County, where I live. I am also on the board of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light. And to help keep me grounded, I belong to a book discussion—liberal women all.
I live less than a block from one of my nephews and his family, which means I get to spend time with my great-nieces (ages 5 years, 6 years, and 1 month). With my slower pace here in central Appalachia, I would love to have guests from QEW come for a visit.