Panel discusses West Virginia Black policy

The ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ virtual panel discussion will feature Black policy advocates and experts from throughout West Virginia on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.  

Crystal Good, a Black West Virginian writer and activist, said she organized the event after noticing a recent increase in Black legislative advocacy.  

“During my tenure as a lobbyist, I longed for a community of Black policymakers,” Good said. “Year after year, the lack of Black faces and a unified Black agenda at the Capitol was evident.”  

Good is a former lobbyist for WV FREE, the West Virginia Hemp Industries Association, the West Virginia Environmental Council and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition.  

“Year after year, the lack of Black faces and a unified Black agenda at the Capitol was evident,” Good said. “For 60 days, Black people are not seen, and perhaps that’s what enabled a Delegate to speak on the House floor recently — that Black people are ‘imaginary’ and ‘fairy tales’ — they do not see us.”  

Good will moderate the discussion with Shanequa Smith, a restorative practitioner with the West Virginia Black Voter Impact Initiative.    

“I have seen and experienced the absence of Black people in the space of political power,” Smith said. “Now we are here to create and establish that space.”  

The panel will feature Quenton King and Rhonda Rogombe from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, Rayna Momen, a former W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow, Dijon Stokes, India Frith and Jomo Smith from the American Civil Liberties Union-West Virginia, Chakera Ervin from Our Future West Virginia and Myya Helm, a West Virginia University Eberly Scholar. 

Isabella Robinson can be contacted at [email protected]