GET TO KNOW US
River Valley Organizing (RVO) empowers the Appalachian Ohio River Valley, with offices in East Liverpool and Portsmouth, Ohio. We started in 2014 and received our official 501c3 in 2021. We use our Service to Power model, organizing our communities to positively impact their surroundings and create systemic change. Our members are sex workers, returning citizens, and people who use drugs. We focus on environmental justice, mass incarceration, public safety, drug policy, and civic engagement. We are empowering those who are most affected to work for power building solutions, placing Black leadership at the forefront. We have a commitment in our organization to bring the community into the fold, empowering them to lead the way. Over 80% of our staff and organizers are returning citizens who were brought into their own autonomy through the help of our grassroots work. Those leading the way, have walked the way and lived the experiences of those they are working with. We also have those who have experienced enviornmental degradation, at the helm of our enviornmental justice work. Our history in the movement goes back nearly a decade. Our Co-Executive Director, Amanda Kiger, worked with East Liverpool residents on bringing a lawsuit against the United States Defense Logistics Agency and four other co-defendants, including Heritage Environmental Services LLC, who operate an incinerator in East Liverpool. The incinerator accepts federal toxic waste. Additionally, Amanda has worked on campaigns fighting against the petrochemical industry, including PTTG and the Austin. Masters waste facility. Other RVO. accomplishments include helping the West Point community reject a landfill slated to bring in radioactive fracking waste. We continue this fight because our communities live in abject poverty due to the oppressive nature of corporate greed and pollution. East Liverpool’s poverty rate is 28% and Portsmouth at 35%. The national average is 11+%. RVO is intersectional above all else. We have built trust through activism and safety. For example, through our Service to Power approach with our harm reduction campaign UnHarming Ohio, we saw a 20% decrease in newly diagnosed Hepatitis C cases. Naloxone distribution led to 6,000 lives reported as saved, with over 13,000 kits being distributed. Our East Liverpool based street team also moved the city from 3rd in Ohio overdose rates all the way down to 16. We see how enviornmental degradation, racism, classism, the Drug War, and mass incarceration all come together to harm communities that are marginalized. Which is why we empower and civically engage our communities throughout our campaigns. Our organization's ability to move our base can also be highlighted through our 2020 civic engagement program. RVO knocked on 35,000 doors, made 10,000 calls, and sent 100,000 texts with the goal of moving people to the polls. RVO offered “rolls to the polls” and mailed 600 absentee ballot applications. We also managed an additional 25 people for this Election Protection project. Most of the areas we worked in saw an uptick in voter registration and turnout. We at RVO are our communities. We continue to strive to bring the movement forward and empower those into their own autonomy.
We bring out the voices that nobody is talking to. We move people along a path from scarcity and isolation to abundance and partnership. We are a member-driven organization that doesn’t do anything from the top down. We are what is missing in the progressive world. “We are leaders committed to restorative and transformative solutions for public health and justice that defy the isolation of incarceration, the impacts of racialized drug policies, the desolation of environmental degradation, and violent policing; empowering and strengthening the health and morale for all.” -RVO
SERVICE TO POWER
We never do service for the sake of service. Everything we do in service is to build you power. Our beautiful valley is polluted by petrochemical waste, our communities are polluted by poverty, and our friends and neighbors are polluted by pharmaceutical companies making money off selling us drugs and prison profiteers making money off locking us up. We bring out the voices that nobody is talking to. We are the one piece that is missing in the progressive world. We are a member-driven organization that doesn’t do anything from the top down.
SERVICE TO POWER
MEET THE TEAM
Amanda Kiger is our founder and Co-Executive Director. She is a survivor of the drug war, losing her own husband and daughter to this outright war on families. Amanda has experienced the degradation of violent policing and the connectivity of marginalized communities being controlled in a militarized police state.
LEAD ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZER
WEST POINT ORGANIZER
WELLSVILLE LEAD ORGANIZER
POLICE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Thomas Powell is the Director of our Harm Reduction Program and new fiscally sponsored organization, Unharming Ohio. Thomas has experienced being beaten by the police and has been incarcerated several times since the age of 13. Thomas knows
the isolation of incarceration during our most formative years. He now organizes his community around their own safety and well-being. He is also co-leading our PoliceOversight Campaign for East Liverpool, Ohio.
HARM REDUCTION ORGANIZER: ELO
LEAD COMMUNITY LISTENER
EAST PALESTINE LEAD ORGANIZER