“I want you to notice nature, how geese are in flight and they form a V in a leadership role…The lead goose, when he gets tired of flapping his wings, he drops to the back and the next goose comes up front. Without stopping, without fussing, without whining. He becomes that next leader, he or she, that’s what we have to do.” -Judy Bonds, PowerShift 2007
The Coal River Mountain tree sit, currently on day six of halting mining on a large portion of the active site on Coal River Mountain, is partly in honor of Judy Bonds. Judy was a devoted anti mountaintop removal activist who passed away earlier this year from cancer- no doubt from living nearby strip mining for most of her life. She was a pillar of strength in the movement who inspired many with her powerful speeches and generous love for her homeland, the Coal River Valley and the people who worked with her to save it.
Junior Walk, who was arrested supporting tree sitters Catherine Ann MacDougal and Becks Kolins at the site of the sit on July 20, 2011, knew Judy Bonds all his life.
“If it weren’t for Judy I probably wouldn’t be able to do any of the work I do today, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to put my freedom and safety on the line like I did to help with this tree sit. Judy took a chance on me, when I came to her looking for a way to plug in I was just a security guard on a strip mine and that’s probably where I’d still be today if it weren’t for her.”
Junior is among many of us who have been touched deeply by Judy Bonds and her courage to stand up against injustice.
Thank you for your guidance and inspiration Judy! We will “fight harder.”
Visit rampscampaign.org for ongoing updates on the Coal River Mountain Tree Sit.