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100 Days, 100 Voices

A community college president shares 10 things to do in the first 100 days

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Dr. L. Marshall Washington spoke at the Martin Luther King celebration in Lewisburg, W. Va. on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 Photo by Nancy Andrews

Dr. L. Marshall Washington

Dr. L. Marshall Washington, 47, is president of the New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, West Virginia.

Washington was photographed in Lewisburg, West Virginia as part of a Martin Luther King celebration. Dr. Washington was the keynote speaker at the event. The following is an excerpt from the speech he delivered on MLK Day combined with an interview. (We spoke with Dr. Washington after the inauguration and following the Women’s March in DC.)

Washington: At the inauguration, seeing all those people, who have power, to be on one stage together and be civil and have a peaceful transfer of power and then have that march the next day — it gives me hope that we can continue to come together to discuss issues even when we disagree. This past weekend is one of those moments in time where we need to believe and still have hope. still believe in America. I believe if we all work together there is no reason to despair.

We cannot let obstacles stop us. We collectively need to take responsibility for our future. Some refuse to do so because they don’t think the problems can be fixed. But my response to that is — imagine what this country would be like today if Dr. King and that generation had assumed that a quest for racial equality and justice was doomed to fail?

We wouldn’t be here today. We can step into those shoes and continue to move forward.

I believe there are some solid strategies we can do individually to continue to nurture a place where people can be valued and respected.

  1. For yourself, take time. Commune with God. Make personal time to connect in your way and in your own practice of your religious beliefs. Worship. Meditate — pray and listen and be mindful. Improve your health — act like it really matters. Eat well. Get up. Go exercise.
  2. It’s time to be positive. Choose a positive attitude. We can all choose to be negative, but it takes a conscious effort to be positive. Exercise your faith. Encourage yourself and others. See the potential in others. See the possibilities even in negative situations. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all.
  3. Take time to give. Give of your time. Give of your resources. Help someone. Give of your talents that aid others and measure your success by what you give, not by what you receive. Serve others.
  4. Make time for relationships. Connect with people. Invest quality time in relationships. That means, that neighbor that you just throw up a hand and wave to every time you get in your car — go over and spend some time with them. Take time for relationships — one of the most segregated times of our week are Sundays. What about getting up and going to a different service? We need to do more, we have people who are hurting, hurting, hurting and all they need sometimes is a smile from you.
  5. Take time to learn. We are not that old that we cannot learn. We need to learn something new every single day. What are you reading? What was the last book you read? Is it the daily news or that Facebook page? Seek knowledge to better yourself. Seek someone’s different opinion. You may be a Republican but have you ever picked up the Democratic stuff? Or you may be a Democrat and have you picked up the Republican stuff? Change the channel from Fox News to CNBC. Change it to see what’s going on. You need a different source. Take a college class. Go learn a new skill. Take time to read.
  6. Take time in the moment to just say I am here. Be here in the moment and appreciate the simple pleasures of daily living. Give people your full attention. Live in the moment.
  7. Take time to work. Get up early and go to work. Put your time in. Things don’t come easy. We have been equipped to do some great things, but sometimes we sit back and let it go by. We are equipped by God to serve and be accountable. Take what you have and build on those. Believe your potential can be greater.
  8. Play. But you’ve got to balance it with work. See the humor in everything. We have to stop taking everything so seriously. Everything is not an affront to you. Everything is not about you. Take yourself out of the center of it, and have some fun and enjoy it.
  9. It’s time to forgive. For everything that’s happened in 2016 — you need to let it go. It means nothing to hold on to the anger and resentment. It will keep you locked in 2016 while the world keeps moving and evolving. As the world turns, it will continue turning and you are going to be right there in 2016 and people are going to be in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It’s going to keep on, so move on and forgive. It matters not if someone apologizes. Forgiveness is about YOU. Ask others to forgive you for your part, even if you don’t think you had a part in it. Forgive to move on. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all. An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  10. Take time to rest and refresh. Reset quickly after a failure. Just like those computers – reset. Failure is part of success. We all have them but you just have to reset yourself. It’s time to be brave. We’ve got to move on, and we’ve got work to do. So be brave. Be courageous during these challenging times. Battles do come in life. We wouldn’t have life if it wasn’t a battle. Watch your tongue and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

In ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ Nancy Andrews presents photographs depicting the diversity of voices across Appalachia. These portraits strive to show the varied faces, passions, issues and opinions from around the region. Interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. If you have an idea for ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ please contact Nancy Andrews on Twitter @NancyAndrews or email at nancy.andrews [at] mail.wvu.edu.

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'Islam in Appalachia'

“Appalachian American Arab Muslim” Malak Khader

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“To be an Appalachian American Arab Muslim … that’s a big title. I feel like I’m wearing so many hats at the same time.” Malak Khader of Huntington, West Virginia finds herself constantly fighting stereotypes about her religion and her home state. She started a multiethnic Girl Scout Troop at the Muslim Association of Huntington mosque. “The Girl Scout values align with Islamic values. It teaches you to build your character, it teaches you community service, it teaches you to educate people and be educated yourself.”

Malak’s full interview is part of our 360° video series Muslim in Appalachia. This series enables viewers to step into the worlds of Appalachian Muslims to experience what it means to navigate Muslim and Appalachian identity while challenging stereotypes of both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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100 Days, 100 Voices

‘He’s a Mini Version of my Dad’

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Jakari Tinsley, age 2, lives in Lynch, Kentucky. His favorite word is "No." Photo by Nancy Andrews

“I hope he becomes a God-serving young man, that he loves everybody as God loves us.”

Jakari’s favorite food is chicken nuggets. His favorite word is “No.” He likes to play basketball with his mini-basketball hoop and watch “Blaze and the Monster Machines” and “PAW Patrol.”

At age 2, and living in Lynch, Kentucky, Jakari Tinsley has his life in front of him. “I hope he grows up and goes to college and gets an education. Whatever he wants to do I will follow him and support him,” his mother said.

Jakari is wearing his grandfather’s hat. “He thinks he’s a mini version of my dad,” said Jakari’s mom, Marisha Tinsley. “Whatever dad does, he has to do too.”

“I hope he becomes a God-serving young man, that he loves everybody as God loves us,” his grandfather Terry Tinsley said, “that he get in a profession that helps others, like a doctor or lawyer.”

Lynch was founded in 1917 as a U.S. Steel mining operation. At its peak it was home to more than 10,000 people, but now in 2017 less than 700 live within its borders.


In ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ Nancy Andrews presents photographs depicting the diversity of voices across Appalachia. These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. Contact Nancy Andrews at nancy@nancyandrews.com. She’s on Twitter @NancyAndrews and on Instagram @NancyAndrews

 

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100 Days, 100 Voices

‘We’re People – We’re Just Wired a Little Different.’

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The weekend of July 29, 2017 brought the first gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer festival to Wheeling, West Virginia with several hundred attending the Ohio Valley Pride. We talked to some of the attendees about why they came to the event:

“Today, I was around people like me. I could be me.” – Andrea Potter

“We’re here to celebrate,” Katreina Kilgore explained her support of her daughter Andrea Potter. “We’re here to celebrate that she didn’t hold back, that she is going to be herself.”

The family lives in Moundsville, West Virginia.  “We struggle,” she said of the entire family’s acceptance, “that’s why I think I am so proud of her.”

Melinda Tober, left, of Windsor Heights, West Virginia came to Pride with Kael Thomas, and Chelsea Camcho of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“No body wants to live in the closet and I think that they shouldn’t have to.” – Melinda Tober

“I’ve been out and proud since 2010,” said Tober. “It’s always looked down upon — so hush, hush, “ she said, explaining that she believes the event such as this help to increase awareness and reduce hate crimes.

Hailee Parker, lives in Williamstown, West Virginia and grew up in Wheeling. She came to the event with her sister, Brittin Orum who lives in Wheeling. Parker performs as “Donte Dickles”.

“We’re people – we’re just wired a little different.” – Hailee Parker

“To be part of it. To walk around the streets in drag and part of the first pride – to just be home for the first time in a long time, “ Parker said. “This is my home. We both grew up here… I feel we have come very far. There are still nicks in the road, and it’s not the end of us fighting for equality… It upsetting to meet a person who is not supportive. All you can do is hold your head high and just leave it at that – with respect… Be yourself, love yourself. Hold your head high and forget what other people think of you.”

Miranda Thompson with daughter Ava Thompson, Terri Laquaglia, with daughter Regan Laquaglia and Maddie Crum attended the first Ohio Valley Pride together.

“Some people don’t understand that we all have to be equal so the world can be at peace.” – Regan Laquaglia

“We care about people and we know that no matter what that person thinks about us – underneath all their hatefulness there could be a good person. ” – Ava Thompson.

Landen Menough, of Martin’s Ferry, Ohio (stage name Miss Rilee Rae Michaels) was emcee of the event.

“If you leave here with one thing today, leave knowing that you are all family to me. You pick your own family and your family are the ones that accept you to no bounds of the earth.”— Landen Menough’s message to the crowd.

Andrew Vargo has lived in Wheeling, West Virginia all his life.

“There’s strength in numbers. We share love and companionship. We might not all get along, but we all share the same view of our rights… I see a ton of smiles, people from all sorts of places.” — Andrew Vargo

Jordan Sewell, aka “Xenus”, performs for the crowd at Heritage Port. 

“It takes guts to come out here in public in drag.” – Jordan Sewell

“Worrying about how to live day to day, being who you are and how you should show who you are — it’s hard,” explained Sewell. Today, “ it feels amazing, a feeling of completeness… I feel like I am now, a little bit – no, a lot more comfortable being who I want to be rather than what others want me to be. It takes guts to come out here in public in drag. Just doing it for the first time – walking out in pubic – outside,” was new. “Never outside, behind closed doors, yes.”

Jordan Sewell, with his mother, Rauslynn Platt as she films the performances. They live in Bridgeport, Ohio.

“I am not gonna hide I was heartbroken, but he’s my son – and my daughter. I’ll support whatever he wants to do in life. He seems so free. He’s so happy and that’s what I want to him to be, happy.” – Rauslynn Platt, Sewell’s mother


In ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ Nancy Andrews presents photographs depicting the diversity of voices across Appalachia. These portraits strive to show the varied faces, passions, issues and opinions from around the region. These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. Contact Nancy Andrews at nancy@nancyandrews.com. She’s on Twitter @NancyAndrews and on Instagram @NancyAndrews

Editor’s Note: This article has been revised to correctly reflect that Jordan Sewell lives in Bridgeport, Ohio.

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