2017 End of Year Update

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
posted by admin


              Happy New Year!                        

2017 has been a busy year for us. We’ve worked hard to cultivate resistance and community support in the face of growing threats like fascist, white supremacist organizations, increased repression of radical activism and all the other fucked up shit that has escalated this year.  Our work continues to change and expand with the shifting political landscape. Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to this year and what we hope to do in 2018:

Here in Whitesville…
We’ve made significant progress turning a vacant lot into a community garden. With help from Whitesville residents, we’ve planted medicinal herbs, added raised beds, built a rain catchment system for watering, and started terracing the hillside.  When spring comes, we hope to fill the raised beds with vegetables, plant more flowers and herbs on the hill, and plant some fruit trees.  We also look forward to working with our friends Aurora Lights  Herbal Medics again to bring another free herbal and alternative health clinic to Whitesville in 2018.
We are constantly engaged in mutual aid work with neighbors in Whitesville- from helping folks heat their homes, to giving people rides to doctor’s appointments or the grocery store. Our community house is a place where neighbors and visitors come to share a meal, get help with school work, or find emotional support. We feel it is an important space in this chaotic community where so many people face depression, drug addiction, violence, and physical ailments. In the past year, we’ve also provided medical support by hosting and caring for neighbors with serious medical conditions.


In “West Virginia”…
We’ve continued our involvement with communities beyond Whitesville as well. We have supported the Stanley Heirs families on Kayford mountain as they carry on the legacy of legendary land defender Larry Gibson. This year we set up and maintained a rain catchment system on Kayford for drinking water and hosted our annual Fall Summit in the park (thanks again to partners Seeds of Peace and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition!). We’ve also maintained our long standing relationship with Prenter, a nearby community severely impacted by mining. This year residents have been forced to run a diesel generator to power the pumping station providing their tap water, though this water is still not clean enough to drink- it is mainly used for washing. While they are hoping they will have access to city water some time in 2018, in the meantime, we will soon launch a fundraiser to help them pay for the diesel fuel. Stay tuned! In addition, we continue to write letters, keep up relationships and advocate for people who are incarcerated throughout the state.
As fascism grew on a national level in 2017, the threat of fascist and racist organizations within our region specifically- including militias and white supremacist political parties- has risen dramatically. Some of these dangerous groups see Appalachia as an ideal place to establish a “white homeland” and have been working to organize and expand here. We’ve worked with local and regional allies to confront these enemies in the streets of Pikeville, KY; Charleston, WV; and Charlottesville, VA. As an outgrowth of those efforts, we’ve helped establish the “Holler Network”, an Appalachian antifascist network with members throughout the region. This network was instrumental this fall in providing community-based self-defense when black radical artist John Sims came to Athens, OH to lecture and exhibit his work. In the coming year, we will continue to confront the fascists wherever they appear in our region and build the Holler network through trainings, outreach, and direct action to destroy fascism in the streets and the hollers of Appalachia.
Broader Movement Support…
Indigenous solidarity continues to be at the forefront of our work. We are on stolen land! Members of RAMPS spent several months in North Dakota this winter and spring providing legal support to water protectors fighting the Dakota Access pipeline. We also set up jail and legal support for actions throughout Appalachia and hope to continue this work in the coming year (and to provide trainings to folks who are interested!). This summer, RAMPS members supported the Pokanoket Nation’s occupation of part of their ancestral land in an attempt to force Brown University to return it to them. We will continue to support indigenous-led resistance!

To continue our efforts into 2018, we’re asking folks to consider donating here. Thanks to all those who donated their time or money (or anything else!) to support us in 2017!

Feel free to get in touch ([email protected]) or stop by if you find yourself in southern WV! We (almost) always need volunteers- please reach out if that’s something you might be interested in.

For the land and people,

This year’s Fall Summit schedule!

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