Dear STAY membership,
Two years (and one extra month!) later, it is my time to go. So much has changed since fall of 2016, when I was elected to serve on the Steering Committee for the STAY Project. I’ve taught and learned, healed and struggled, and mostly, I think, figured out exactly why a youth liberation movement in central Appalachia is and has been crucial to me for so long. I’ve learned what it’s like to be heard and invested in, I’ve also learned when to step back and let others lead the way. I’ve helped to create a workshop about combating white supremacy and collective liberation in Appalachia, and dream to build a whole curriculum about how we- mountain youth, are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we will be the ones to get us free. I hope you will take what you need from the work we’ve done for the last two years and leave the rest. I hope you will add to our work and make it better, stronger, and more resilient. STAY is about creating space, it is also about more than space, it’s a feeling, a movement, a thing you can carry with you wherever you go and take pride in being a young person who is trying to stay in this place (or about how you can leave the mountains, but your legacy will always touch down on and inspire your comrades here at home).
I hope you will apply to join STAY’s Steering Committee because we need leaders like you NOW. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do.
With love and solidarity,
Appalachian Love Stories