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In Appalachia, Margo Miller Leads from “a Place of Courageous Joy”

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Ms. Miller said her experience with racism was not the same as it is today. “I am currently surrounded by a community of social justice people who value fairness, inclusion, and anti-racism practices,” she said. I haven’t had the same experience as other sisters who work on boards and trustees, and many of them have an uphill battle.”

African Americans make up approx. 10 percent According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, it makes up 5.6% of Appalachia’s population, while Hispanics or Latinos make up 5.6% of the population, and that number continues to grow. Still, sociologists and historians say that black and Latinx peoples with Appalachian roots have deep ties to the region, and that their rich history needs to be studied and appreciated. People like Miller, who are connected to the history of the United States, are supporting the effort, they said.

Dr. Elamine of West Virginia University said, “There weren’t many black people here, so you hear stories about coal mining and about good race relations, but those stories are distorted. “Black people will always be in this area. From slavery.”

Led by Miller, the Foundation supports all Appalachians regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or other identity. said they feel more included. For them, the mere sight of black women committed to the growth and development of this region is a source of comfort and encouragement.

Richard Graves Artist of Abingdon, Virginia, One person who received $5,000 from the Community Fund’s Fellowship Program in 2021 said the money gave him a stable living during his first year as a full-time artist. The foundation donated a total of $80,000 to fellows like Graves. But even more valuable than financial support, he said, is the community support that comes from participating in a network of foundations.

“It can be difficult to do community work together because of how fragmented and pocketed these rural communities are,” he said. “It gave us faces and names of people across the area. We meet on Zoom every two weeks and stay in touch.”

Strengthening communities and bringing people together is one of Miller’s most powerful qualities.

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