Name: Olivia (Liv) Holman
Fun Fact: In the 2nd grade I won my school's turkey gobble off. I guess I had a talent for sounding like a turkey. Still not sure if that is something I should be proud of or not.
What made you want to join Divest Appalachian?
Being from the Midwest there are two prominent features throughout the landscape: corn and old factories. I grew up in a more suburban city but my parents and grandparents hail from good ole' Gary, Indiana. I guess one would say that Gary was once a poppin' place to live in for most of the 20th century. Located on Lake Michigan, Gary was a hub for coal plant and steel mill jobs; and for decades the communities thrived. But by the mid 70's the vast majority of these industries left, leaving the communities broken and surrounded by a whole host of air and water pollution problems. The aftermath of these industries, destroyed the once beloved lake front city. Gary is now primarily boarded up; people fled the city to get away from its slow and violent degradation, my parents were one of them. I joined and have stayed in Divest Appalachian because I have seen with my own eyes how fossil fuel companies can use and discard communities and the lasting effects that has on them. I am committed to this cause because my grandparents and other family members still live in Gary, breathing smelly toxic air and drinking less than desirable water. Divest Appalachian is my way of fighting to ensure the Appalachian community and communities all around the world are protected from the damaging effects of the fossil fuel industry.
What does #ResistRejectDenial mean to you?
Every so often I think back to when jokes were made about Donald Trump running for president. How funny it would be, and how people would vote for him just to see a celebrity in office. Two years and one terrifying election season later, that man who people once made jokes about is about to be inaugurated as the president of the United States. Donald Trump ran an ugly campaign built on isolating and inciting hatred of people groups, sexism, climate denial, and white supremacy. For me #ResistRejectDenial means rejecting climate denial, combating exploitation, standing for a just and sustainable future, and continuing the fight for freedom just as other generations past have. As a young black woman, I can’t afford to sit idly by these next four year. I must fight, endure suffering, celebrate small victories, and continue to push for what I believe to be just. When we ask our university to divest from the fossil fuel industry, we’re asking for to them to do more than speak about sustainability, but take necessary and bold actions towards that future. Now more than ever you have a chance to fight for the future you believe in. If you believe in creating a better future, in the rejection of Trump’s climate denial and divisive tactics, if you stand for equality, then I ask you to join us Monday, January 23, at 11am on Sanford Mall.
While many of us are in shock, and even grieving, over the result over last Tuesday’s election, we cannot escape the reality that Donald J. Trump has been chosen to lead our country and represent the interests of the American people. But one thing we feel certain about in the face of a Trump presidency is that our work is more important than ever. With Obama’s failure to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, the impending Atlantic Coast Pipeline across NC, VA, and WV, and the increasing number of climate refugees being displaced everyday, there is so much at stake for young people, women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and indigenous peoples. We knew this before the election of Donald Trump, but now we are more determined to pursue our work than ever before.
For us, this means facilitating those difficult conversations with our peers, family, and friends we’ve been avoiding for years. It means telling a better story that resonates with those who saw hope in Donald Trump on November 9th. It means ousting democratic elites and instead building a movement of progressives that we can actually believe in. It means cultivating a vision for a just future that is worth fighting for. It means reminding ourselves and others that we have more collective power as people than our new president-elect.
We know that the fossil fuel industry helps hold up Trump’s presidency, that he will give them the green light to continue destroying communities, and that both human and non-human life cannot afford to wait four years. So we are joining thousands of students across the country to fight back and stand in solidarity with communities taking beautiful, creative action against the fossil fuel industry.
Particularly in this political moment, we need our university to stand up for us in powerful and instrumental ways. The climate crisis is interwoven throughout all of the issues our world faces today and it’s time for Appalachian State University to stand on the side of justice, protect its students, faculty, and staff, divest from the fossil fuel industry, and reinvest in a Just Transition away from fossil fuels. Whose side are you on, App State?
So now what?
We recognize that many folks feel the need to take action right now. There were many campaigns and movements already fighting before this election and they need your energy! To folks feeling lost - there’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel :) Fossil Free App State invites you to come to our meetings on Tuesday evenings at 6:45 in PSU Snake Mountain #136