Equality For All
Executive Director, Mountain State Spotlight
At the age of 10, Princeton native Ellen Allen became one of the first girls in West Virginia to join a Little League baseball team—but she didn’t get to step onto the field without a fight. Allen had to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, and, after an attorney took her side, she went to court and won the case in 1972. “That was around the same time Ruth Bader Ginsburg started pushing for equal rights in the courts,” Allen says. “Obviously at 10 years old I didn’t really know what was going on, but what I learned at that time in my life was that, to achieve justice, you have to be persistent.”
After her daughter was born with total blindness, Allen was inspired to pursue nonprofit work advocating for equal opportunities for visually impaired and blind students—as well as equal rights for women, LGBTQ+ individuals, those living with HIV, and other minorities. She recently became the executive director at the nonprofit news outlet Mountain State Spotlight. “Nonprofit journalism is a way to address injustice in a different way,” Allen says. “Good information really is a bedrock of strong communities and strong democracies.”
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.