The 2020 election process is proceeding during this challenging time of pandemic and quarantine. The country is in crisis and our opportunity to vote for new leadership is in our hands. Together, we must organize and carefully prepare to Get Out to Vote activities in our communities and select candidates that are going to represent us. It has been difficult to gather people, hold rallies, get our message out and motivate people to go to the polls in sufficient numbers. Strategies of success and inclusion are now being developed.
Registration Deadline for General Election October 13, 2020 (post received by Oct. 16th)
West Virginia Online Voter Registration Website
Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Deadline to Return Completed Absentee Ballot Hand deliver Monday, October 2, 2020
Early Voting October 21 -31, 2020
Drive to Survive October 2020
Stroll to the Polls Saturday, October 24, 2020
Saturday, October 31, 2020
General Election Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - Polls Open at 6:30 A.M.
Please feel free to contact me with additional GOTV suggestions or activities at 304-543-0248 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Let’s make it happen.
Karen P. Williams
Black Diamond Baseball Foundation’s mission is to increase opportunities for Black minorities in the sport of baseball by bringing awareness to the diverse history, reducing financial barriers and creating more accessibility for Black minorities and underrepresented youth to play the sport.
The Foundation was started because the disparity of Black youth and professional players within the sport of baseball is obvious from a personal perspective and statistical standpoint. By identifying three major areas of opportunity; education, accessibility & the financial barriers, we hope to change the current demographic of baseball, starting at the youth levels.
We began executing our mission by partnering with our local Little League chapter, Jefferson County Little League. We proposed, organized, and hosted Little League’s first ever Negro League Day Celebration on July 11th, 2020, which also marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Negro Leagues. The surrounding communities were in attendance and showed an overwhelming amount of support and appreciation for what this event meant to them and their families. The opening ceremony began with honoring the Negro Leagues’ history by highlighting some of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game: Leroy “Satchel” Robert Paige, Josh Gibson, & Jackie Robinson. We also honored the Black alumni of Jefferson County Little League and their baseball achievements during and after their Little League experience. It was also important to us to have “Lift Every Voice” sung prior to the start of this event to give young players and the community the experience of hearing this historically significant song sung during a youth sporting event. The two teams that played in the showcase game represented the Homestead Grays vs the Kansas City Monarchs. This event gave us the opportunity to educate the community and players about baseball’s diverse history at a professional level and also at the local level.
Our future plans are to partner with youth baseball organizations to host educational events like the Negro League Day Celebration. We also plan to connect with schools to ensure that students are informed of spring registration for youth baseball organizations and are aware of other baseball opportunities within their community. Lastly, we plan to work with the city/county Parks & Recreation Board to increase accessibility to baseball facilities in their area.
Sarah M Warner
President, Black Diamond Baseball Foundation
I’m not crazy, but…
I feel like my brain won’t shut off. It won’t let me sleep. Thoughts swirling. Re-hashing every conversation I had today. Wishing that I had said something different. Worried that someone is thinking that I’m horrible or not good enough. I wake up in the middle of the night with dreams where horrible things happen to the people I love. I can’t concentrate or get anything done-- all I can do is worry.
When you are feeling like this it could be anxiety. Worry can be helpful and protective. Worry prompts us to plan. Worry keeps us from doing stupid stuff. Anxiety is when worry turns toxic. Anxiety makes us feel sick. Anxiety causes our brain to send danger signals, that trigger a rush of adrenaline. The true enemy can be our thoughts. The result is adrenaline when without an outlet, implodes.
* the heart to race and pounds,
*our breathing to speed up and feel difficult,
*makes all of our muscles tense,
*our throats feeling like it is impossible to swallow.
Sometimes the anxiety is so bad that you might even feel like passing out with dizziness and lightheaded. Sometimes it’s called Generalized Anxiety Disorder with or without panic.
How can I help myself? Breathing. I swear breathing is the best and fastest way to control worry. The adrenaline makes us breathe fast and shallow trying to get oxygen to our arms and legs to fight off the danger. It can be hard to remember to exhale. And a lot of times when people get worked up, we actually hold our breath. Really pay attention the next time you are nervous or angry. It’s like your brain is going so fast if forget to breathe. No one likes to breathe into a bag. So, don’t. The goal is to breathe slow, deep, and exhale fully. There are a million breathing practices. They all work to a certain degree.
*notice your breathing
*focus on one good breath followed by another. (Google 4-7-8 Breathing)
Other things you can do that don’t involve a co-pay
*Meditate (some apps are free now due to COVID)
*Exercise, it’s the best medicine for anxiety
When should I reach out for help:
*when anxiety becomes panic and feels like a heart attack.
*When anxiety keeps you from taking care of yourself
*when anxiety keeps you home from work,
*when anxiety keeps you from talking to your friends and family.
What help looks like:
Counseling. It is more than talking about your problems like you do to your friends. Counselors are your thinking trainers. You have to learn how to change bad habits of thinking errors.
Personal training. If exercise and meditation on your own aren’t helping,
then, trainers, counselor,s and life coaches can help you achieve your goals.
Acupuncture. Eastern medicine is very helpful for anxiety.
Medicine (prescription and natural). Medicine won’t make problems go away but make anxiety and difficult situations easier to manage.
Anxiety does not discriminate, it attacks all races, genders, and creeds. Don’t let it control your life.
Put the salt down, get sun when it shines, fish oil is your friend.
About the Author:
Doctor Melissa Albert hails from Clarksburg, West Virginia, and graduated valedictorian from Notre Dame High School. She attended West Virginia University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She continued at WVU to complete medical school and receive a Doctorate of Medicine.
Dr. Albert first completed a three-year residency in Pediatrics at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. While working with children and families she realized that she wanted additional training to focus on emotional needs. She then returned to West Virginia University and completed a three-year Psychiatry residency. She also served as Chief Resident during her final year.
She worked at the WV University at Chestnut Ridge Center from 2007-2011. She worked with children hospitalized medically for issues of stress, anxiety, and depression. She then worked for Cornerstone Care a non-profit network of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHC) from 2011-2016. She then returned to West Virginia as she felt it important to care for individuals in her home state. She worked with PSIMED Corporation in the Morgantown and Charleston locations. She cared for adults, children, and adolescents providing outpatient psychiatric care as well as youth court-ordered to residential juvenile treatment. She now works at Wedgewood Family Practice and Psychiatry. There she provides outpatient psychiatric evaluation and medication management for adults, adolescents, and children.
21 years, 9 months, and 17 days in the military from 1955 to 1976.
I was in the Air Force for 4 years and the Army for 18.
I did 3 tours in Vietnam. I did 3 tours in Germany. I did one tour in Korea.
As an African American in the military, I went to Europe in 1956. Some of the white soldiers told the little kids that blacks had a tail. They could come around and raise the back of your overcoat to see if you had a tail. They also used the N-word. Little kids would sing an N-word song walking behind you. This all came from their exposure to the white soldier. Plus, the bars were segregated. This was after the military in 1949 integrated. It was not a rosy trip.
It was tough. Promotions: Then all of the sergeants in charge were white. Mostly southern. it was tough to get promoted. I went overseas with two stripes. I had a master sergeant Poe. He told me if I play basketball, I would leave with two stripes. three years later, what he said was true. I left with two stripes. some of the white airmen that came over, they got promoted to E5 and they came over as a PFC. I came over as an Airman Second Class.
I was a pretty good baseball pitcher. As a matter of fact, I was being scouted by the Dodgers. I had a little girlfriend from England. Every time I would pitch, she would come and see me. After the game, she would run out onto the field and hug and give me a kiss. As soon as baseball season ended, they shipped me out to Germany. Because they did not want to see that. So, it was not a Rosie trip. It was tough.
Promotion wise, I was probably the best-dressed soldier in my company. I could shine a shoe until it looks like mercury. My uniform was always pressed and clean, my buttons were always buttoned. I did not make a stripe.
In Vietnam in 1966, I was working in the motor pool as a final inspector on vehicles. My first sergeant, the senior enlisted man in my company, he and his buddy had been drinking and they were in the latrine. I came up late after final inspecting a five-ton dump truck. The first sergeant and his buddy were the only two in the latrine. They were on the right side of the latrine and I went to the left side. His remarks were “Yea, I don’t see nothing wrong with a n*gg*r. Every white man should have two of them.” I went off! And if he were not wrong, I would have been a private because I cussed him out. He was supposed of been lifted by the higher powers. He had to retire from what they told me. but they shipped me out as soon as they could after the incident. It wasn’t two weeks afterward; I was on my way back to the states.
So, all these things that you had to endure. Among the black soldiers, on promotion day we had a Passover party. Because all of us got passed over. I had six years in grade as an E5. I was probably right in the middle because we had some guys that had 10 years who served a whole tour in Vietnam under this first sergeant and did not get promoted. So, he put a block on our promotions.
I had gone to school in Fort Carson Colorado for TAMMS. Tactical Army maintenance mechanical systems. Colonel Colin Powell was in charge. He was a G4 officer. He wrote me a letter of appreciation. it remained in my records. After which, I made E6, E7, and was in line for E8 if I would have stayed two more years, but I was ready to retire. After he got promoted, he left and went to the Pentagon. he got promoted to general. In other words, he was high up in the ranks of the army. So, they recognize that letter that he had written about me. that is what helps me get promoted. Acting first sergeant. I was in charge of transportation for the executive branch. all of that occurred after I was under his jurisdiction. That is my army story.
My family moved to Clarksburg in 1944 when my younger brother was born; I was 2 years old. Do not bother with the math – I’m 78. My ethnicity and age dictated that I attended Kelly Miller School, the segregated school, from 1948 to 1956 through grade school and junior high. With the Harrison County integration of schools, I transferred to Washington Irving High School.
I indicated my age just to imply that I am in the homestretch of life, but also to reflect on some of the lessons learned during my lifetime, particularly things learned that did not come from books. I attribute most of those ‘life-lessons’ to time spent at Kelly Miller. Two of those lessons learned were: A sense of belonging in this world, and a sense that I could achieve any/all aspirations.
To be fair, it was not the school that resulted in those strong life lessons, but the teachers. I remember that a large proportion of those teachers earned advanced degrees. That had no meaning to me while at school, but on reflection in my later adult life things fell into place.
During my college and early corporate training classes in the 60’s, there were few minority students – often only 1. Yet I knew I could endeavor because of that ‘sense of belonging’. I had learned sentence structure and the conjugation of verbs, Shakespeare, word derivatives (Latin), as well as a background in STEM. All were helpful in classroom and training classes. Yet, there was a stronger sense that I could achieve whatever target I set. That was a reflection of those teachers from their discussions and lectures, not from a lesson itself. Philosophy and psychology are not my strong suits, listening was and is.
Kelly Miller and its teachers prepared me for life. I guess most of you feel the same about your school experience, but this was unexpected from a black, segregated school in the 1940’s. The success of our alumni (some older than me) attest to that.
Professor Philip W. Carter, Jr., MSW, is an academic activist with over 40 years at Marshall University and a total of 50 years teaching, administering and training in higher education. He has a 60-year legacy of social justice. This advocacy began as a basketball player at Marshall and simultaneously as a spokesperson for the student led Civic Interest Progressives (CIP) responsible for desegregation in public accommodation, establishment of human rights commissions and racial betterment on Marshall’s campus and in the Tri-State community and elsewhere in West Virginia. Professor Carter has employed throughout the country sit-ins, wade-ins, share-ins, picketing, courts, education/information, voting, business policy, economic disruption and marches to secure Black rights. The Southern Governors’ Conference March, the March on Washington, D.C. and the Million Man March are a few personal engagements. He has taught over 60 Africana Social Work courses. He is a founder of the Black Legends of Marshall (a recognition of 125 African American Athletes at Marshall in 1995).
At age 26 he was one of the highest-ranking leaders of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the big four civil rights organizations. His education and experience at the University of Pittsburgh and in the community prepared him to lead Community Action Regional Training (CART) for 23 counties in Western Pennsylvania. His cumulative preparation in academia, the community in policy and political change led him back to his alma mater where he demanded accreditation of the Social Work department as its sixth leader in 13 years in 1980. Also, Professor Carter was founder of the Huntington Alumni Chapter making him a double charter founder in the International Fraternity, Kappa Alpha PSI, the first Black Greek organization on Marshall University’s campus in 1962. He has received numerous awards and recognitions across the country and approximately 30 negative job, police, administrative challenges, court orders and arrests including one horrific gang of white police beating him in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Professor Philip W. Carter, Jr. continues in the pursuit of justice to expound and pound forward the gospel of persistent resistance to white Anti-African American racism regardless of cost and loss.
Author: Dr. Angela Oglesby-Cherry
About the Author:
Dr. Angela Cherry is from Clarksburg, WV. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from West Virginia University. In 2002 she obtained her Medical Degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine. In 2006 she completed the WVU Rural Family Medicine Residency Program at Harpers Ferry, WV. In 2007 she completed a Maternal Child Health Fellowship at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, IL. Upon completion of fellowship she returned to the Eastern Panhandle of WV to serve as a Family Medicine faculty member. She has been teaching medical students and residents for over 15 years while practicing full spectrum family medicine. She has had the pleasure to deliver hundreds of babies in the eastern panhandle. She has also been afforded the opportunity to participate in medical mission trips to Rwanda, Guatemala, and Fiji. In 2016 her mid-career achievements were recognized when she received the WISH (Women in Science and Health) award from WVU School of Medicine. In 2017 she received a master’s in business administration from the WVU School of Business. In 2020 she was appointed as the WVU Rural Family Medicine Residency Director.
When not traveling the world, Dr. Cherry enjoys relaxing with her husband, Wade and two dogs Rocky and Rocket. She enjoys being creative while actively drawing and painting with oil pastels, acrylics, and pencils. She is an avid card maker and scrapbooker with Stampin’ Up!
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. Among some racial and ethnic minority groups, including non-Hispanic black persons, Hispanics and Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, evidence points to higher rates of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 than among non-Hispanic white persons. As of June 12, 2020, age-adjusted hospitalization rates are highest among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic black persons, followed by Hispanic or Latino persons.
COVID-19 is a new disease, and CDC is learning more about it and how it affects people every day.
History shows that severe illness and death rates tend to be higher for racial and ethnic minority populations during public health emergencies than for other populations.
To protect yourself remember:
Wear a cloth mask every time you leave the house
Practice Social distancing
Stay at home if you are ill
Get tested if you are ill
Author: Charlene Marshall
About the Author:
Charlene Marshall did not set out to become mayor of Morgantown. But when five people told her not to run for office, she decided it was a good idea.
Marshall grew up in rural Monongalia County, the daughter of a coal miner who died in the mines. She attended the county’s segregated schools in the 1940s and 50s, graduating from Monongalia High School. Unable to enroll in West Virginia University under the laws of the era, she briefly attended Bluefield State College.
By the 1980s, she and her husband Rogers were established homeowners in the city’s Greenmont neighborhood. The area, close to downtown with a mix of Black and white homeowners and student rentals, was beginning to show signs of deterioration. “We formed a community group, and started to meet in my house,” she recalls. “It was before we had air conditioning, so when it was hot we’d meet in my driveway.” Their main goal was to get the city to take action against a handful of landlords whose decrepit houses were hurting the whole neighborhood. The group appointed her as president and spokesperson.
“We wrote letters to every member of council, the city manager and the city clerk. And I started going to every meeting to ask what they would do to help us. Meeting after meeting, there was nothing done.”
The problem wasn’t confined to one part of Morgantown. Neighborhood groups were springing up all over town, and several asked Marshall’s help in getting organized and taking their concerns to the city.
An election was coming up. A rumor started that she would run for council.
Her phone began to ring in the evenings. “This was before Caller ID, so you couldn’t see who was calling,” she said. “They didn’t say who they were. But four different people called me to tell me not to run. They all said the same thing – that a Black woman couldn’t win in Morgantown.”
It wasn’t just white people, she recalls. She heard from several friends that some of Morgantown’s small but well-connected Black community were not excited about her candidacy.
“What I thought was, if I couldn’t win, why are you all so worried I’ll run?”
Then a University professor who was active in local politics showed up at her front door. “He rang my doorbell, and stood on my porch to tell me he was putting together a slate. He had a guy for our ward already, so I should not run. I thought to myself, ‘How far south do you think we are?’”
“That was the deciding factor for me. If they were so scared of me running, I must have a chance.”
She ran, and won. When the new council, including several neighborhood group leaders from around the city, met for the first time, they elected Marshall mayor.
No one realized that night that she was making history. But a short time later, her friend Carolyn Bailey Lewis told her she had researched the records, and could not find any other city in the state that had elected a Black woman as mayor.
Charlene Marshall’s term as mayor is remembered as a time of rebirth and regrowth for the city; the effects are still felt in the vibrant Monongalia County economy and growing population. Her successes led to several terms as a member of the House of Delegates, where she was a leading advocate for education, equal justice, and human rights for all.
At every step, there were people who tried to discourage her – officials from other towns who thought she was a waitress at a statewide conference, parking attendants who tried to chase her out of the members-only spaces at the State Capitol, other legislators who dismissed and tried to silence her. She outlasted them all.
“Most people are good, and I’m very grateful for all the old friends who supported me and all the new friends I made along the way. But I learned that you have to have a thick skin, and make the decision that you won’t let people hold you back. If they are not coming along, you just move ahead without them.”
Congratulations to all of our 2020-2021 West Virginia Black Heritage Festival Scholarship recipients! We can't wait to see what their futures hold! This year, we awarded nine graduating seniors:
The West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, Inc. (WVBHF) established in 1990, has been bright light in the community throughout the years. In the early years of the festival there was family friendly fun festival every September, as well as, a Youth Block Party for the youth in the community. The festival also had a health fair component where attendees could meet with United Hospital Center nurses and have free blood pressure, sugar and blood work completed. The festival also given over $200,000 in scholarships to graduating high seniors throughout the state.
The festival has always performed community service throughout the year in many capacities, such as, a fundraising golf tournament where the proceeds went towards the WVBHF annual scholarship. For many years the festival provides book bags filled with much needed school supplies to under privileged students in the community, coordinated free eye exams.
In 2017 the Board of Education donated the Kelly Miller School to the WVBHF. Since the generous donation, the WVBHF made the building the Kelly Miller Community Center (KMCC). The community center offers free programming, such as, STEAM Club, Youth Book Club, Family Movie/Game Night, Adult Game Night, Adult Book Club, Computer Learning Center, Kidding Around Yoga, and a Fitness Center.
In addition to all of the regularly scheduled programs the KMCC, the WVBHF hosts community events, such as, MVB Bank Credit Improvement/Home Ownership Seminar, Business Fundamentals Seminar, Improv Your Community Training.
The WVBHF will continue to provide a safe space to the underserved community members through programming and partnerships for many years to come!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 West Virginia Black Heritage Festival has been canceled but that doesn't mean we're taking a break!