Vivian Stockman portrait.jpg- Vivian Stockman is the 2020 recipient of the Women of Appalachia Project™ Appalachian Advocate Award.
Vivian Stockman is the 2020 recipient of the Women of Appalachia Project™ Appalachian Advocate Award. (Submitted)

The Women of Appalachia Project™ Announces Winner of 2020 Appalachian Advocate Award

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The Women of Appalachia Project™ (WOAP™) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Women of Appalachia Project™ Appalachian Advocate Award is Vivian Stockman, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, WV. The award is given yearly to a woman who has dedicated herself to enhancing the wellbeing of Appalachian culture, Appalachian women’s health, Appalachian families or Appalachian land issues.

Since arriving in a small West Virginia community in the 1990s, Vivian Stockman has stood with often unempowered communities against well-heeled industries, to fight for mountaintops, forests, water, and air.

According to nominator Susan Truxell Sauter, “Vivian Stockman serves as the person who links it all together—if it means filing a lawsuit on her own, or coaching women living in coal communities on how and where to speak about the health impacts of such industry whether at a county commission meeting or even at the United Nations. She jumps the synapse, providing names, education, and media support. She meets people on their own ground, repeatedly, making a personal connection—while amplifying their truth with emails, tweets, essays, op-eds, newsletter articles, and award-winning photographs. “

Former OVEC Executive Director Janet Keating offers a powerful summary and example: “Vivian…has developed long-term, trusting relationships with people in communities impacted by injustices of the coal industry. For example, she remains close to the Miller-Caudill family whose ancestral land and homeplace was surrounded and threatened by mountain top removal. The coal company had gone to court forcing the family to sell their land.  Fortunately, the WV Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision. Vivian attended relevant hearings, communicated with family members and stood in solidarity with them…to this day, Vivian is invited to the Miller-Caudill annual family reunion.”

“WOAP is proud to lift up women such as Vivian Stockman.” says Kari Gunter-Seymour, executive director, Women of Appalachia Project, “Women often go unsung as they go about their work with passion and purpose, knowing what they do is truly for the good of all. Vivian is a prime example of someone who goes well beyond punching a time clock. Her dedication to the land is remarkable and should be celebrated.”

The award will be presented on March 28, 2020, Athena Theater, second floor at 6PM; during the annual WOAP™ “Women Speak” performance, a juried presentation of poetry, story and song, showcasing twenty Appalachian spoken word artists from seven states throughout Appalachia

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Ohio University Multicultural Center, the event is free to the public. A reception with beverages and hor d’oeuvres will take place immediately after the performance.