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Marchers Will Demand Preservation of Blair Mountain, Strengthened Labor Rights, Abolition of MTR
Press Conference to Announce March on Blair Mountain: Appalachia’s Rising
CHARLESTON, WV - March 4 - On Wednesday, March 9th at 11 am, in the UE Local 170 Hall (1591 Washington St. E, Charleston, WV) retired UMWA coal miner Chuck Nelson, author Denise Giardina, and a coalition of leaders from the Appalachian labor and environmental movements will announce the March on Blair Mountain: Appalachia’s Rising, a massive non-violent five-day march from Marmet, WV, to Blair Mountain in Logan County, WV.
Marchers will follow the same route that union miners took on their historic march to Blair Mountain in 1921. The ensuing battle was among the largest labor uprisings in United States history.
Said Brandon Nida, board member of Friends of Blair Mountain, “As citizens in Wisconsin and across the country stand up to maintain their right to collectively bargain, Blair Mountain stands as a physical reminder of the struggles of previous generations of workers to establish those rights. It is a place where a new solidarity for the 21st century will be forged between all of those fighting for workers, communities, and our mountains.”
March planners believe that current plans to mountaintop removal mine Blair Mountain would dishonor the memory of the miners who sacrificed their lives for the right to collectively bargain. Citizens and organizers assert that if mining permits move forward on Blair Mountain, the most significant heritage site in Appalachia will be destroyed and the communities around Blair Mountain will be irreparably and adversely affected.
The march will begin on June 6th, 2011 in Marmet, WV. Participants will march 10 miles a day, and evenings will consist of workshops, cultural festivities, and music. On the sixth day, June 11th, a large rally will be held in Blair, followed by a march to the crest of Blair Mountain.
The event’s mission statement reads, “We march to demand sustainable job creation in all Appalachian communities, abolish mountaintop removal, strengthen labor rights, and preserve Blair Mountain.” The March on Blair Mountain: Appalachia’s Rising is a joint project of the Blair Mountain Coalition and Appalachia Rising. For more information, please visit: www.friendsofblairmountain.org