Core Leaders 2009-10

Viney Charles
Raven Gulley
Joyce Gains
Linda McKinney
Jennifer Mock
Coraline Norris
Brenda Stanley
Martha Venatoe
Sandra Whittaker
Megan Williams

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Viney Charles: I come from so far back in the sticks that the chickens get scared at night. Mom always fixed breakfast with gravy, biscuits, sausage or bacon and eggs. For lunch and supper we would have corn bread and fresh churned butter, and whatever else Mom wanted to cook. I sure would love to have some of Mom's cooking again. When I started to school there wasn't a school bus where I lived so my uncles took me on a horse to school and came back and got me. So guess what? I didn't get much of an education.

Raven Gulley (15 years old): I am from growing up in the mountains, from eating biscuits and gravy every other day, from a racist community, from a place where I feel some people don't want me around. I am from hearing my grandmother's views on everything, from a big family, from a small town where I want my voice to be heard. I am from a place where young girls have babies out of wedlock, where everybody knows everybody and everybody talks about everybody, from a place where I have to decide whether or not I want to leave or stay.

Joyce Gains grew up in Clinchco, left for many years, and has now returned home to take care of her grandchildren.

Linda McKinney: I am from a holler in Summers County, West Virginia, where two creeks flow into one as they travel seven miles to the New River. I am from land taken from the native Indians in the late 1700's and from stubborn, hard headed women who speak up when they see wrong being done to the children and to the land. Being disabled makes me afraid that I will not be able to continue to work to support myself. I am over 50 years old and jobs go to the young, healthy and mentally sharp. My disability means a daily struggle with overwhelming fatigue.

Jennifer Mock: The sun shines bright in the morning as my heart is hurting with pain. To see another day go by and my people are still fighting for justice. As my family has told me about the leaders from the past I hope I can make a difference to the people of the present. I see what my job is now, to educate my people about our heritage and our rights.

Coraline Norris: Growing up I was very poor. I ate whatever my mother had for me. My mother would wash clothes for people to have a little money to buy clothes for me and my sister. We didn't have a very good childhood. The Clinchco Center has been a learning place for me. It gave me my power and I will never go back to where I was. Last year I voted for the very first time, and I am going to keep talking and register others to vote.

Martha Venatoe: I want to create a donation center that collects and organizes clothes and food for people of low income in the community. Most women around here are on a fixed income and raising kids by themselves. At the end of the month we need help with food.

Sandra Whittaker: I endured lots of hardship growing up. I didn't have time to think about what people thought about me or the color of my skin. I had to think about where I was going to get my next meal, or how me and my brother and sister were going to stay warm for the winter. Then I found out I was pregnant. I was sixteen and didn't know what to do. I had the baby, but I was able to finish school. I ended up working in a factory. It was just one big sweat shop.

Megan Williams: I don't know much about the system. But I know I want to be treated equal. Human beings should not be judged by the color of their skin. You should get a chance to know me. I am a good person. I just want to be treated equal.

copyright Appalachian Women's Alliance 2007
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