WV New Jobs Coalition Visioning Project
By Brandi Reece, Coalition Coordinator for the WVNJC
Meet Our Organizing Team
This month the WV New Jobs Coalition kicked off our Visioning Project. The lead for this project is myself, Brandi Reece, and I am the new Coordinator for the WVJC. I am a West Virginia native and currently reside between Mercer and Kanawha counties. I have 20+ years of experience in community organizing. Additionally, I am a grant writer and a licensed West Virginia educator.
Our other team members are Amber Blankenship, Brandi Gunnoe and Zachary (Zach) Shrewsbury.
Amber will be covering Logan County as well as working with her connections statewide, in central West Virginia and the coalfields. Amber is a re-entry specialist with concentrations in recovery and criminal justice reform, She has also organized to prevent homelessness and address addiction among this population. She resides in the coalfields area and has a breadth of experience with the struggles of the populations there.
Brandi will be covering Boone and Kanawha counties. Brandi’s work is focused on recovery advocacy. She is also a community liaison connecting community members with the resources they need and teaching marginalized individuals how to advocate for themselves. Brandi is a creative thinker and will additionally be working on social media outreach and some seasonal themed events to garner participation in the project.
Zach is another West Virginia native, a powerhouse political organizer and Marine veteran who will be serving us in the coalfields of Boone, Logan, Wyoming and Mingo counties as well as Raleigh, Fayette and Monroe. Zach has served as a manager and/or volunteer on multiple political campaigns both in and out of West Virginia. Since his time in the military, Zach has worked extensively to get out the vote. Zach has traveled hundreds of miles across the state and up and down the east coast to advocate for veterans. He regularly creates and participates in mutual aid projects in his local community and surrounding areas and is an elected member of the Fayette County Democratic Executive Committee.
The Visioning Project
The Visioning Project consists of a listening “tour”, either in person or via alternative means when an in-person meeting isn’t possible or practical, centered in Boone, Logan, Raleigh, Fayette, Kanawha, Mercer and Summers counties, as well as other coalfield areas. In addition, there will be individuals in smaller numbers from outlier counties.
The idea behind the project is to conduct multiple interviews in a community meeting setting whenever feasible. Meetings can be with familiar or new faces and the goal is to conduct six per team member during the duration of the project. Interview questions are pre-determined and ask participants about West Virginia issues that most impact them and their loved ones and how they would like to see said issues addressed.
Other components of the listening project included registering West Virginians to vote via neighborhood canvassing, writing op-eds for local newspapers, social media outreach and posting flyers with a QR code that takes a would-be participant to a Google Form where they are able to submit their answers to the questions online and be a part of the project.