The mothers, the millennials, and the mavens. Changing our communities.
This is our seventh annual unveiling of 50 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. Meet this West Virginia Wonder Woman, Amy Jo Hutchison, and many more that are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.
Pain Into Power
Amy Jo Hutchison hadn’t thought of herself as an activist until she fought against a local school board planning to close the swimming pool at her daughter’s elementary school. She won.
For the past three and a half years, she has served as the northern regional organizer for Our Future West Virginia, an organization that aims to build local power in order to upend oppressive systems. Her focus is on organizing the poor—particularly single mothers—as well as on protecting SNAP benefits and fighting food insecurity.
“I hope to change people’s perception of what poor looks like,” says Hutchison, whose advocacy comes from a place of lived experience. She says working with marginalized people often requires more than empathy; it requires understanding. As an organizer, she teaches others they can make a difference by telling their stories—by turning their pain into power.
Hutchison’s favorite part of her work is seeing marginalized people’s confidence grow when they feel empowered. She encourages others to use their power and privilege to open doors for those who may not yet have found their power.