Director of Economic Justice with Community Change/Community Change Action
Jennifer Wells is an organizer and star social worker who made headlines when she and her family, native New Orleanians, survived Hurricane Katrina and transported their entire lives to make a home here in Huntington. She’s been passionate about social issues from an early age and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Marshall University and West Virginia University, respectively.
While at Marshall, she successfully organized with her social work classmates to push the administration to better value their profession and department. Since graduating, she’s held several service positions throughout the state as a social worker, organizer, and strategist, including at one West Virginia organization where she put work on racial justice front and center and employed a staff composed of 50% Black women.
“We believe that effective and enduring social movements must be led by those most impacted by injustice themselves. In my current role, I lead a team of amazing organizers from across the country working with local and state organizations to improve the material conditions of their community members.” Their efforts tackle access to quality affordable housing, health care, childcare, and food.
“I have been in deep conversations with West Virginia youth leaders and with senior leaders I had the privilege to meet during my days in the field as a youth services and medical social worker,” Wells says. “It’s those experiences, coupled with my own lived experience as a Southern Black woman turned West Virginia resident, that brought me this far in my life, spiritual journey, and career.”
written by taylor wine-queen
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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.