Meshea L. Poore is a powerful advocate and educator.
She has dedicated her life towards helping those who are underrepresented in our society, along with providing tools and education to others to continue that work. Her talents and achievements are a gift to our home state of West Virginia, whom she has served diligently since the start of her career. She has broken glass ceilings, all while motivating others to follow in her footsteps. Her career started as a public defender in Kanawha County, from there she has gained an enormous amount of steam in keeping up the good work. Taking on roles such as WV House Delegate, the first African-American woman to lead The West Virginia Bar Association, and now Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at WVU.
Meshea grew up in Charleston West Virginia, attending local Stonewall Jackson Middle School, and Capital High School. She was inspired by County Circuit Judge Irene Berger, who was the first African American woman to serve as a circuit judge in West Virginia. In an interview with the Gazette-Mail in April of 2017 she stated “I knew I wanted to be an attorney before then, but it wasn’t until I saw her on the bench that I thought, ‘Oh, I can be a judge,” (Kemp, 2017). Poore went on to graduate from Howard University with her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. She then continued her education at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gaining her Juris Doctorate.
After earning her J.D., Meshea came back to her home state of West Virginia to serve her community as a public defender in Kanawha County. In 2009 she was appointed by former Governor Joe Manchin to serve the 37th District as a member of the state House of Delegates, she served up until 2014. Already proving herself a successful lawyer, and delegate, she went on to become the first African American women to be president of the West Virginia State Bar.
Meshea has made a significant difference within her community, but one person is not enough. She intends to inspire others to do the same. Her position at West Virginia University as Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion allows her to share her voice “at the University on some of the most important societal issues… she brings a long list of accomplishments and remarkable enthusiasm to the position” WVU President Gordon Gee said in an interview on WVU Today.
Meshea stated “The connecting thread of my life’s work has been equal justice and community advancement… it is vitally important that we foster an environment that embraces the wholeness of every individual that calls West Virginia University family and wants to call West Virginia home, we are the beacon that will guide the way.” Meshea has been a social justice advocate, and an inspiration to the students at West Virginia State University, Rutgers University, and now West Virginia University. She has served nonprofits and organizations aimed to make a difference. Being an advocate or champion of a cause means joining forces with those in the community who are trying to effect change, and Meshea does just that on not only a local and statewide level, but national as well.
YWCA Charleston is dedicated towards eliminating racism, and empowering women, Meshea embodies our mission with her life’s work and her continued efforts on our committees and events. In 2017 she took on an important role in the YWCA Racial Justice Program. She co-chaired the inaugural Race to End Racism, an event aimed to raise funds for the YWCA Racial Justice Program and engage the community in the national YWCA campaign: Stand Against Racism. Meshea hasn’t stopped there, she has continued to chair the Race to End Racism committee, as well as moving our Racial Justice work in the community forward.
We are proud to be honoring someone who has made such a difference in our community and organization. It is a privilege to honor Meshea alongside the other 2019 Women of Achievement. To attend or sponsor the event, please visit www.ywcacharleston.org/woa.