Young leaders in Logan, W.Va., honored Black History Month this year by hosting a youth program at Logan High School Little Theatre on Feb. 19, 2013. Over 50 community members were in attendance.
Performances included a poetry reading of "America" by Maya Angelou, presentation of excerpts from President Obama's 2013 inauguration speech, a powerpoint presentation on African American innovators, and speeches summarizing student interviews of local human rights heroes.
"I learned to feel happy and proud I’m from West Virginia," said one young woman after a trip sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Appalachian Center for Equality (ACE) program. As it expands into two other West Virginia counties, ACE hopes to bring even more young people to the same types of realizations.
AFSC’s efforts in West Virginia’s southern coalfields have historically been focused on young African-American women in Logan County. Mentoring gives these women a safe space to learn about themselves and their community with the guidance of trusted adults. Three years ago, a male mentor began working with young men interested in the program. The program has expanded geographically too; Mingo and Boone County high schools are set to join Logan County in hosting ACE groups in the coming school year, according to Lida Shepherd, who became program director in January 2012.
ACE aims to empower participants by imparting interpersonal and personal skills and helping them advance to higher education. To accomplish this, the program takes participants on visits to colleges, provides test preparation, helps with applications, and directs students to resources like scholarships and fellowships to make higher education affordable. The program also uses trips to teach young people about local history, social justice and advocacy, and environmental concerns. These experiences give students exposure to cultures different from their own, often by allowing them to interact with others their age from different regions and even different countries.
West Virginia native J.R. Clifford will be the subject of a new play presented this month at Southern West Virginia Community Technical College at 6 p.m.on Feb. 17
Clifford, who was born in 1848 and passed away in 1933 was a colorful figure in any age. A West Virginia native and a Civil War era veteran he was also a prominent journalist and newspaper publisher and is noted as West Virginia’s first African-American attorney.
Dionne Bartley, Director of the Appalachian Center for Equality, an AFSC program, discussed J.R. Clifford's legacy.
"Look what people can do when they join hands, when they stand shoulder to shoulder and work together and do so in a loving and kind way." Thus Clinton Pettus, deputy general secretary for programs of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), spoke for all who attended the July 25 dedication of a Logan County, WV, house volunteers built for two disabled sisters.
Who we are
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.