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100 Days, 100 Voices

‘100 Days of US’ funds 25 community projects to start in first 100 days

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Ryan Coon is a program officer with The Sprout Fund, a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh. He explained the ‘”100 Days of US” project.

The Sprout Fund awarded $120,000 to 25 projects leading a civic response for the first 100 days of the new administration. Our team attended The Sprout Fund kick off party in Pittsburgh on Monday, January 9, 2017. We highlight four of the 25 recipients of these grants.

Coon: Many presidents are measured against, or even sometimes come into office, with their agenda for their first 100 days. We believe it’s just as important for communities and people to have their own agenda in these 100 days and see a clear way for them to take action and participate fully in our democracy.

Following along with the course of the electoral season in 2016, we started asking ourselves what can we do as a grant maker to help people continue to take action to protect and support the things that are important to them in the face of changes and division that the country is facing.

We wanted to be able to provide them with an outlet, provide them with some tools and empowerment to take action in response to those potential changes and to honor their ideas and their values. We wanted to give them the chance to demonstrate what an inclusive and welcoming America is and what an inclusive and welcoming Pittsburgh region is. “100 years of US” is a nonpartisan initiative.

We’re interested in supporting projects that cut across party lines and really are important to people and to communities regardless of their political affiliation.

We wanted to try to identify ways to bring people together to work together on issues of importance that might get ignored by one party, but are still important to people. For us it is a response to the political outcome, but it’s not a political project. It is about helping people take action on the things that are important to them.

Shattered Glass is a podcast supported by The Sprout Fund, created with Monica Hershberger, 27, Marita Garrett, 30, and Jessica Kaminsky, 30,  of Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg. Hear their first podcast.

Hershberger: We are recording the ‘Shattered Glass’ podcast. It’s a podcast of extraordinary women breaking the glass ceiling. So, we’ll be talking to lot of women in leadership and seeing how they got there and what barriers they faced. Onward and upward straight through the glass!

“That’s Us” is a project supported by The Sprout Fund, led by Elaine Harris-Fulton, Pamela Simmons and Latisha Jones from Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg.

Harris-Fulton: For our project, we want to increase voting by 2018. We want to do this by training 100 agents of change in 100 days. We’ll go out into the community and talk about the electoral process and what happened in this election, so they don’t feel disenfranchised.

Because the electoral votes picked the president this time, many people think that their vote doesn’t matter. We need to make sure we educate them on how the electoral process works and why it’s still important to vote.

Ignorance to Action is a group project supported by The Sprout Fund, that includes Moriah Ella Mason, 29, and Daniel Klein, 37, of Pittsburgh.

Ella Mason: From ‘Ignorance to Action’ means learning from and supporting our Muslim and refugee neighbors. We are organizers with Jewish Voice for Peace Pittsburgh and we’re collaborating with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh on a series of speaking events where Muslim and refugee neighbors from Pittsburgh are going to speak about their experiences to high schoolers, adults and communities around the region.

We’re also going to be doing neighborhood canvassing with posters and having businesses and families display them. The posters say things like, ‘Stop profiling Muslims’ and ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ and are a visible sign of support in the community.

The last part of our plan is that we’re going to be leading bystander intervention training so people can practice how to intervene when they see harassment of any type in a public space.

“She Runs Southwestern Pa.”  is a group project supported by The Sprout Fund, that includes the work of Elaine Evosevic-Lozada, 43 and Sara Innamorato, 30, of Pittsburgh.

Innamorato: Pennsylvania ranks 14th out of 50 states as far as diversity in our government. So, it’s a really an abysmal state. So we really have to get more women in office. It’s non-negotiable because we make up more than 50 percent of the population. The way that we’re going to tackle this big issue is to start on a hyper-local level and to get more women elected to local office. We’re going to do that in three different ways.

1) We’re going to build a coalition of resources that already exist that educate women on how to run for office and also educate women on policies that affect their lives.

2) We’re going to do grassroots outreach and go into communities and talk about what resources exist, how to connect with them and find out really the barriers that are affecting women locally that are preventing them from running for office or even getting on the ballot.

3) We’re going to have a really strong social and digital media strategy and really be that hub — the one-stop shop where people can go to see what events are happening, what resources exist and really de-mystify the resources that are out there, and to how to connect to the organizations or get involved in campaigns for women who are running for local office.

David Crawford contributed to this coverage.


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. 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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