by Maureen Sullivan & Mike Maloney
In 1974, a group of Appalachians and their allies organized the Urban Appalachian Council (UAC) in Cincinnati. For the past 40 years, UAC has served urban Appalachians through a program of research, cultural expression, social services, education and advocacy for recognition and inclusion. When the Urban Appalachian Council closed its doors in January 2014, a group of us met to assess what we had lost and what we needed to keep going. We agreed to organize a new and more sustainable effort–the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition (UACC)–to connect urban Appalachians in the Cincinnati – Dayton – Northern Kentucky regions to work on areas of common interest.
We believe that some of these common interests of urban Appalachians include centers of community life, expression of Appalachian culture, the promotion of emotional health and well-being, the maintenance of our library and archives, and advocacy whenever our community is put down, ridiculed, or excluded from opportunity for advancement.
We want our movement to be dependent primarily on our own efforts, but we will maintain partnerships with schools, social agencies, health and educational institutions and agencies which serve our community. We have formed Action Groups which work in communications, research, fund raising, culture, heritage preservation and archives. Our structure includes a corps of volunteers who serve as staff and a group of about 60 Stewards representing various sectors of our community. We want urban Appalachians to be connected, included, represented, and empowered to act together for common benefit.
We want to know how you want to become involved in this movement. It could be by writing blogs or website content. It could be by joining one of the Action Teams: the focus of those now active include Cultural Events, Research, Advocacy, Heritage Preservation, Archives, Communications and Fund Raising. It may be a new area you propose. To find out how to get involved or connect with others doing this work, email Mike at [email protected], or join and write us a message on our UACC Facebook group to let us know.