Finding Community Through Crisis

Posted Mar 17, 2020, by Veronica Coptis

The number one pillar of our work is to protect public and environmental health. During this pandemic, our main priority is to keep our members, leaders, staff, and community safe. 

Starting today, the CCJ office will be closed and all staff will be working remotely, but we are all still accessible via email and phone. We are canceling all in-person gatherings and meetings for at least the next 4 weeks (this includes our next scheduled community meeting on 3/31) and are looking at ways to still be able to provide them virtually. We are not panicked and we do not feel these are extreme steps; instead, we are standing in solidarity with our most vulnerable community members, service workers, and healthcare workers to slow the spread of this virus. 

While the level of spread is currently low in Washington and Greene Counties, we are already seeing access to food, critical supplies, and services become limited. As we know, those of us working and living in rural communities already deal with limited access to transportation, food, and healthcare. We know what isolation can feel like, but we also know that rural and small-town communities are resilient. We at CCJ will be working to continue to create virtual spaces for the community to connect and build together. 

Now more than ever, we call upon our government to provide free testing and treatment, paid sick days, and free childcare. All evictions and utility shut-offs must cease immediately, and all focus should be on providing resources and bailouts to working people, not corporations. 

For the foreseeable future, CCJ will shift gears to helping ensure that our communities’ needs are met and that people are safe. 

Although it is easy to feel alone during this time, please remember: we are here for you, and we care deeply about you. We are resilient and we know what it means to fight for each other. Together, this will make us stronger. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your thoughts, offers, and needs during this time.


  • Veronica Coptis

    Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county. Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughters. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-future-of-coal-country. Contact Veronica at veronica@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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