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“I want you to die empty.”

In his sermon the Sunday we visited, Bishop Brown, the pastor of Faith Center Church in Bluefield, urged us to spend every ounce of goodness and potential we have in this life. “You came into the world full. I pray for each of you to die empty.”

What Bishop Brown was preaching is what we strive for each day–to build a movement and a state where we can each thrive.

The journey to winning that kind of state is difficult. And the pastor’s words reminded us that no great change in American history has ever come without Black leadership, leadership like Bishop Brown’s.

Black educators, civil rights leaders, parents, slaves, doctors, lawyers, ministers, and blue collar workers helped build our state from the ground up. The first paid UMWA organizer in West Virginia was a Black man. As is always the case with those who have fought to overcome exploitation, ours is the story of Black folks carrying more than their fair share of pain, and demonstrating more than their fair share of courage

Our movement today is no different. 

Black county captains, constituency captains, and candidates are lighting the way. Thanks to Shanequa Smith and Frank Carr for welcoming us to the Marion County NAACP Chapter annual event. Thanks to Lewis Brogdon (pictured above) for inviting us to meet with Bishop Brown Sunday morning. Thanks to Delegate Danielle Walker, Lacy Watson, Royal Lowe, Anjellica Scott, Mary Ann Claytor, and Tina Russell who were early to sign the WV Can’t Wait Candidate Pledge, not to mention summoning the courage to run for office. 

The political Good Old Boys in Charleston want us to fight each other. They want us to believe there is never enough for us all to live in dignity. Because they know that when we fight each other: white against Black, poor against middle class, they win. And they can continue to take advantage of our hard work. The truth is, across race, our pain is tied up with one another’s, and our pathway to freedom is too.

Join us to win a West Virginia that works for all of us.