Lewisburg Mayor Beverly White awarded ‘Certificate of Achievement’ as part of Black Policy Day

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “In 1999, I never thought I would be the Mayor of Lewisburg, West Virginia. I’m privileged to be that, and it is an honor to be here with you today.” 

Those words were spoken by City of Lewisburg Mayor Beverly White on Wednesday, as she addressed the crowd gathered in the lower rotunda of the State Capitol for Black Policy Day (BPD). Now in its third year, BPD serves as a platform for the state’s historically disregarded Black voices to be heard, and provides an opportunity for community advocates to meet face-to-face with the men and women responsible for making West Virginia’s laws. 

Mayor Beverly White speaks to a crowd in the lower rotunda of the Capitol Building on Wednesday, as part of Black Policy Day. Photo by Matthew Young, RealWV.

Currently serving in her second term as mayor, White previously served Lewisburg as the city’s first Black councilwoman. Her remarks came as attendees awaited the start of a scheduled “Crown Act” rally, something which White hopes to see finally become law during the current Legislative Session. 

Simply stated, the “Crown Act” – legislation which has been proposed numerous times, yet has languished for several years – prohibits discrimination based upon hairstyle, or the texture of one’s hair.

“We had a former delegate, and I asked him the question, ‘Is anybody telling you how to wear your hair?’” White told the crowd. “He said, ‘No.’ So I asked, ‘Why is there anybody trying to tell us how to wear ours?’”

“Another question I always ask is, ‘Help me understand why what I am, what I want, and what I do bothers you.’” White continued. “‘Because what you do and what you have doesn’t bother me. I’m happy for you. I’m happy that you love who you love, live where you live, and work where you work without worrying about what is going to happen next.’”

As part of the morning’s celebration, White was presented with a “Certificate of Achievement” award for her more than 20 years of civic service, and a lifetime of dedication to bettering the communities around her. The award was presented by the organizers of Black Policy Day, Dr. Shanequa Smith with the Black Voter Impact Initiative, Katonya Hart with the Partnership for Furthering Arts and Education, and Crystal Good with Black By God: The West Virginian.

In closing, White shifted her comments toward the young people in attendance, saying, “I am so glad to see you here.”

City of Lewisburg Mayor Beverly White, with her son, South Charleston Fire Chief Virgil White. Photo by Matthew Young, RealWV.

“You are going to make a difference – you have to make a difference,” White continued. “I’m 72-years-old. We’ve got to do this for all of us. This is an amazing place to be, and I’m honored to be here.”

“Let’s love each other,” White added. “Let’s treat each other like we want to be treated. It is important that we stay together.”

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