The Urban Appalachian Community Coalition draws its commitment and service to Cincinnati Appalachians from the establishment in 1964 of the Main Street Bible Center. Under the direction of Ernie Mynatt, the Center operated a storefront at Main and Woodward that served neighborhood Appalachians. The initiative ran continuously through a number of organizations, chiefly the Urban Appalachian Council, which incorporated in 1974 to “promote a decent quality of life for Appalachian citizens of Greater Cincinnati.” In 2014 the Council’s service components were absorbed into other local organizations. The Council was reorganized as UACC, an advocacy coalition that continues to be the chief voice for Cincinnati area Appalachians.
UACC Core Team and Stewards
When UACC was reorganized in 2014, we designated our founding collective of fifty-or-so community leaders as its “Stewards,” who gathered over the course of that year to imagine a new future for the organization. From these individuals, a Core Team was formed to oversee the ongoing operation of the organization.
The Core Team is a group of individuals who provide staff support to the network of UACC volunteers. This includes providing resources and coordination for the Action Groups which carry out much of the programmatic work of the organization. Working with the Stewards and the Action Groups they help provide the energy and direction for this part of the Appalachian movement.
Current Members are Michael Maloney, Maureen Sullivan (both former Executive Directors of the Urban Appalachian Council), John Bealle, Jeffrey Dey, Pauletta Hansel, Nancy Laird and Debbie Zorn. The Core Team meets bimonthly to oversee the ongoing affairs of UACC.
The goal of the Core Team is to develop an inclusive, democratic, and sustainable framework in which our urban Appalachian voices can be heard and expressed in action. For information, contact us at [email protected]
UACC also holds “Core Plus” meetings on months alternating with Core meetings. Core+ events are open to Stewards and other community members who might be involved with particular UACC initiatives. In recent years, Core+ has hosted an annual formal gathering to engage the community with the work of UACC.
The UACC Core Team, the Stewards, and others are involved in many initiatives that provide support and advocacy for Cincinnati Appalachians.
The Advocacy Action Team plays a key role in the UACC – to assure that policy makers and service providers understand and meet the needs of greater Cincinnati’s Urban Appalachian community.
On the Archives Team, we seek to collect media and materials that document and discuss migrant and urban Appalachian experiences that may interest contemporary journalists, poets, screenwriters, novelists, scholars, and future generations.
Our work within the communications team is about creating spaces that support conversations and the sharing of information by and about urban Appalachians. This Action Team takes the UACC’S Calling as its guide and includes website development for the UACC, managing our listserve, maintaining the UACC events calendar, consulting with other UACC Action Teams, and creating the UACC’s weekly newsletter and blog which features stories and essays from a variety of urban Appalachian voices. We also maintain an urban Appalachian Community Coalition Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/uaccvoice/.
Community Engagement takes the form of a number of overlapping initiatives designed to bring people together to discuss, celebrate and participate in Appalachian cultural education and advocacy.
Cultural Resources Team
Cultural Resources include artists, musicians, writers and speakers on various topics, as well as cultural competence training information, films and other materials. Work is concerned with the gathering and dissemination of information about Appalachian history and culture, including an online cultural resources registry, currently under development.
Volunteers working in the Health group are Stewards from the UACC Core and other Action Teams. Concerned with the health and well-being of urban Appalachians in Cincinnati, we are conducting an assessment of health needs and assets. We will interview community-based advocates and organizations active in community health, public health planners and researchers as well as service providers to develop a data collection tool that will help us compile information, opinions and anecdotes so we can prioritize health-related needs, build on community assets, and propose a Health Action Plan for the UACC.
One of the oldest continuing research committees in the Cincinnati area, this group meets regularly to share updates about projects that focus on or benefit Urban Appalachian communities. To learn more about UACC research visit the Research Committee page.
Urban Appalachian Leadership Project
Envisioned as a coalition of students and young adults, community advocates, scholars, artists, and others who empower community members to acknowledge diversity within cultural identity, the Urban Appalachian Leadership Project (UALP) seeks to connect with our history and shape our future by engaging in conversations and activities exploring what it means to be Appalachian. Click here to read more about our Urban Appalachian Leadership Project (UALP) Innovation Grant Program which will award stipends to young Appalachian leaders and their mentors from universities and communities across the Greater Cincinnati region.