Action Alert!

Request for Direct On-land Support from Dineh Families

In this last month, Dineh families have gotten letters and visits from government authorities threatening livestock impoundments and herd reductions. 

For four decades these communities have fought to stop the U.S government and Peabody Energy Company's exploitation of their homelands and communities. Today families remain, steadfastly resisting the mine, colonialism, and forced relocation. 

Dineh families are requesting direct on-land support.  You are being invited to the resistance communities' lands and homes.  People are asking for support in maintaining their herds. Your presence as a human rights observer can help deter impoundments.

MJ Fall Summit on Kayford Mountain
RAMPS, MJ and Rising Tide Suspended a Banner Above Downtown Roanoke, Calling Out Billionaire Coal Baron Jim Justice
Kanawha Forest Coalition
Prisoners of South Central are standing up and speaking out.Read their letters and sign a petition in support of prisoner demands at: storiesfromsouthcentralwv.com
Honoring the Waters ceremony and candlelight vigil in Charleston, WV.
More video from Honoring the Waters and Candle Light Vigil - Maya Nye speaks

Support Ramps and the broader movement to end strip mining in Appalachia by purchasing a copy of the Still Moving Mountains CD by clicking on the icon above. It's a project of Aurora Lights.

RAMPS Launches Youth Engagement Project (YEP)

posted by squirrel, Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Over the past few months, outdoor activities with local youth have developed into a new project, the Youth Engagement Project (YEP). RAMPS members have been making trips with local youth to find downed trees in the forests surrounding Whitesville, then cutting and splitting it into pieces that are sold as firewood.  Some of the wood is also given directly to the families of youth involved in the project. Here in the mountains, firewood is not just easy to find, it’s also a part of this culture: using chainsaws, mauls, and woodstoves is a part of the mountain way of life. The youth who are participating in YEP have a lot of fun getting outside and like having a way to earn some spending money; they’re also very proud of their accomplishments.

YEP outings also include root-digging days in which RAMPS travel with local youth to places in the forest where medicinal herbs, such as yellowroot (Hydrastis canadensis) and bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), can be gathered. In the process, youth travel through areas where the destructive impacts of the coal and gas industries are visible as well as to older, more intact forests ecosystems where most commercially valuable wild roots are found. After the roots are gathered and dried, RAMPS also help the youth to get their roots to market. We’re especially excited to engage local youth with projects that get them outside, equip them with skills they can apply outside our program, and teach them more about the land surrounding our area. Since we like to incorporate general learning about the forest into the program, YEP will collaborate with other adults in the community to teach the youth to identify different plant species.

Youth projects aren’t restricted to forest outings, and we’re still expanding our nascent projects. Some of the wood we gather is usable for lumber, and so YEP is considering milling some wood with our chainsaw mill to build a woodshed and improve our water catchment system. We’ve also received a grant to build a community garden and to grow some more veggies here in raised beds on some vacant lots in town–just in time for fall crops! The garden which will consist partly of individual beds for people in the community and partly of a ‘community bed’ which will be used to provide fresh vegetables to families in need during growing season as well as vegetables for canning to provide food in colder months. As a collective, we’re excited to see where else this budding project branches out in the future.

Update From Stories From South Central

posted by admin, Monday, August 31st, 2015

We continue to support, advocate for and amplify the voices of those trapped in cages and those recently released.  We have made incredible progress over the last year, and  we’re excited to tell you about new directions in our work.

Stories from South Central was created as an emergency response to the systematic chemical poisoning of people incarcerated in South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, WV, in the wake of the January 2014 MCHM spill. Our investigations revealed widespread human rights abuses inflicted upon the jail’s population during this crisis (and generated this in-depth ThinkProgress article). In June, this report formed the basis for comments by the President of the Connecticut State Senate where he called out the former executive director of the WV Regional Jail Authority, Joe DeLong, for his failure to protect prisoners from drinking toxic water.

Though our work on this matter is far from over, those brave prisoners who chose to speak out have ensured that this travesty will not be forgotten and that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.

The failed response by the jail staff and administration to the water crisis is an example of a larger pattern of abuse, violence, and negligence. To combat these abuses, we operate a full-scale prisoner support and advocacy project.

We’re now working with former prisoners who want to fight for better jail conditions, more decarceration and re-entry opportunities, and accountability for past abuses.  We are currently collaborating with comrades we met while they were locked up in South Central to build a network of prisoner supporters and advocates primarily consisting of formerly incarcerated people.

We are pleased to announce that the West Virginia Department of Corrections has lowered rates on phone calls substantially, and we are pressuring the Regional Jail Authority to follow suit, resulting in front page coverage in the Charleston Gazette and further coverage via the Associated Press.

Our work includes staffing and funding a jail support hotline that WV prisoners can call to report on conditions, request help with lawyers or bureaucrats, send messages to families and friends, or just chat with us.  The high number of people contacting us means there are fewer people languishing in West Virginia jails and prisons without outside contact and more prisoners bravely defying a culture of repression and violence to speak out and assert their humanity.

We also continue to support prisoners by keeping up regular written correspondence, visiting, providing court support, facilitating new pen pal relationships, maintaining a media presence, providing commissary and books for prisoners in need, and working to build solidarity between the climate justice and prison justice movements.

Please support this work with a donation!  As an all-volunteer organization, we depend on generous donations from supporters to continue our work.  No donation is too small — everything helps!  If you are in a position to do so, please consider becoming a recurring monthly donor.  

Your support will help us keep moving forward with our efforts to amplify the voices and political power of those currently and formerly incarcerated.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

For a world without cages,

The Stories from South Central Crew

P.S.  Here are some more things you can do to support this work …

  • Join our pen pal program! Many prisoners have asked us to help them find someone on the outside to correspond with. Send us an email for more information — tell us you’re interested, and we’ll set you up.
  • Ask your friends and networks to support us.
  • If you can provide legal support, or if you want to talk about supporting prisoners and/or this project in other ways, get in touch and tell us more.
  • If you haven’t already, please like and share us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


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