Thursday, September 17th, 2009
81 Year Old Military Veteran Announces 25 Mile Senior Citizen’s March to End Mountaintop Removal
Contact – Roland Micklem or Andrew Munn 304-854-7187
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Roland Micklem is an 81-year-old military veteran from Richmond, VA. State police arrested Micklem and three others for blockading Massey Energy’s regional headquarters in an act of non-violent civil disobedience on the morning of Wednesday September 9. In his statement, Micklem announced his intent to lead a five day, 25 mile march for senior citizens, ages 55 and older, in a protest against mountaintop removal (MTR). Micklem and other participants will depart on the morning of Thursday October 8 from the state capital in Charleston, W.Va.. The march will conclude at the gates of the Massey-owned Mammoth MTR site in Kanawha County on Monday October 12, where those who choose to will engage in an act of non-violent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal.
In Micklem’s open letter, he states, “No substantial gain in our efforts to continually evolve into a more humane and caring society has been made without the willingness of individuals—with non violence as both a creed and a strategy–to step outside the framework of law and tradition in order to correct wrongs when conventional measures had failed. The abolition of slavery, the enactment of civil rights legislation, the right of women to vote, the termination of the Vietnam war could not have come about without the help of the same kind of non violent, direct, and sometime unlawful action that we are using here to stop mountaintop removal. And as a Christian as well as one who basically respects the laws of the land, I see the growth and maturing of my Faith to be in direct proportion to my readiness to stand for truth, and to embrace causes that will contribute to our moral and spiritual uplift as the dominant species on the planet.”
Micklem’s march is a collaborative project between Climate Ground Zero, Mountain Justice, Intergenerational Justice, and Christians for the Mountains, and is part of an ongoing campaign of non-violent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal. Micklem and march co-organizer, Andrew Munn, age 23, are planning evening activites and speaking events to conclude each day’s walk and educated the public about MTR and related issues. Larry Gibson of kayford Mountain and 2004 Green Party gubernatorial candidate, Jesse Johnson are among those expected to speak and participate in the march. Senior citizens who are unable to march are invited to join in for the evening activities. More information on programming will be made public in future releases on www.climategroundzero.org.
According to Micklem, five people, including clergy men and women, are committed to the full march, and at least ten others will join for stretches. He expects more will join as word spreads.
Massey subsidiary Mammoth coal operates a mountaintop removal site and coal processing plant next to Route 60 east of Charleston. In 2004, Massey bought out Cannelton Coal, which formerly operated that site, cut the United Mine Workers contract, and reopened it as the non-union Mammoth Coal Company despite a union organized picket and lawsuits.