We honor her too-brief life by fighting to the end, as she exemplified
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — The first time I met April Pierson-Keating in 2014, I immediately knew I had met a woman that had no time to waste when it came to fighting the natural gas companies that are damaging public health and destroying the environment throughout much of West Virginia through fracking and related pipeline development.
With April’s passing yesterday, we have lost a relentless happy warrior. For sure, she was stern with those that believe that they had dominion over the land of others, to take and use and destroy. They believe in sacrificial zones. April did not. The people, she was determined, would be heard. And heard she was, from her home in Upshur County to Virginia and points in between. Yet, she was also a happy presence. So, her smile, as well as her intellect and determination, brought joy wherever she went.
So, we are just processing the reality that her voice is silent. Or is it?
We must keep April’s voice alive. Nobody, of course, can replace her. Our hearts are heavy. But those of us who knew April know one thing for sure — she expects us to keep fighting for justice for the people of West Virginia and all of Appalachia.
A few years ago, when trying to share with my younger friends/readers one of the benefits of being engaged in a good fight — building lifelong relationships with people that are among your best friends — I wrote this article. April is pictured in it. That was the first meeting of the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance.
I made a great new friend that night. My head and heart ache for the loss of that friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and the people of West Virginia.
Yet, April — though gone in the physical body — remains influential and even present today so long as we honor her life by fighting for justice with the same vigor with which she did. Let us live her example — fight until the very end. It is what, I believe, she expects of us.
I understand that is was April’s wish that we post photos of water in her honor since she worked so hard to protect our source of life. To that end, let us rush, as does the water tumbling over Blackwater Falls, to establish justice in our land.
© Michael M. Barrick