Action Camp equips Appalachian citizens to resist mountaintop removal

Photo by Mary Kroeck, Parson Brown Productions.

Blanton Forest, KENTUCKY – Last week, citizens young and old from
coalfield communities across Appalachia flocked by the dozens to historic
Harlan County, Kentucky, for the fourth annual Mountain Justice Summer
Action Camp. Folks came together to prepare for action, share their
stories, and teach each other important skills in the fight against
mountaintop removal, all while camping out in Kentucky’s beautiful
Blanton Forest. The Action Camp is a full week of events organized
each year by a coalition of civil society groups that have been working
together across state lines for over four years, each member passionately
dedicated to social and environmental justice in the Appalachian region.

2008 marks the first year that coalfield communities in Kentucky
played host to the Action Camp, which is held in a different
part of Southern Appalachia every summer. This year’s camp
clearly showed that the pan-Appalachian movement for Mountain
Justice is growing
in numbers, growing in support, and growing in vision.
People are coming together for a long-term campaign to abolish
and the devastating consequences it has on the land
and the people of Appalachia. The community of folks getting
involved in Mountain
Justice stretches from California to Maine, from Texas
to Florida. The attendance at MJS Camp 2008 proved that
this grassroots movement has taken root not only in the
communities impacted by mountaintop removal but nationally.

Campers from outside Kentucky were made to feel right at home by
the local folks. The banjos and ballads were in no short
supply at the “No Talent” Show where campers discovered the cultural
roots that connect everyone’s histories to the mountains of the region.
According to one camper, “I really feel like this neighborhood
protected us this week.” The families on the 840 loop in Wallins
Creek, Kentucky, can now count themselves among the growing number of communities proud to be known as Mountain Justice folk.

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