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a book reading by Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour with Urban Appalachian Community Coalition members in attendance

#TraditionsTuesday: Urban Appalachian Community Coalition

“There is no eulogy required for the Appalachian community. We are alive, vibrant, and contribute to the ongoing vitality of the places we live.”

So says Pauletta Hansel, poet and Core Team member of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition (UACC). This alliance of artists and organizations works together toOAC Board Chair Ginger Warner, Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour, and UACC Core Member Pauletta Hansel attend the book launch of “I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing,” an anthology featuring Appalachian poets edited by Gunter-Seymour. Dozens of poets performed their work for attendees. celebrate and sustain the artforms and culture specific to the Appalachian region, particularly in the Greater Cincinnati area. UACC counts visual artists, makers, musicians, writers, and poets among their membership.

The group has existed in some iteration since the late 1960s, when it was founded as a service organization called the Main Street Bible Center. The group then incorporated into the Urban Appalachian Council in 1974. The service arms of this group eventually merged into other community organizations within Cincinnati, but a core group of leaders saw value in the shared, cooperative advocacy of the community for those who were “othered” by the larger community due to their heritage. These leaders developed the new coalition, UACC, and worked to develop “an inclusive, democratic, and sustainable framework in which our urban Appalachian voices can be heard and expressed in action.”

For them, community is key, but the pandemic made shared experiences difficult. To develop a strong virtual project to build and maintain the community, the group turned to one of the most traditional of Appalachian arts – storytelling. The UACC Story Gathering Project gave members an opportunity to informally interview those of Appalachian descent over video chat, collecting their first-person and family narratives and hoping to share them with the wider world.  Many of these video interviews have been edited together into topical Video Quilts, which showcase the unique ways that heritage has informed the lives of the Urban Appalachian community today.      

Take up #TraditionsTuesday:

EXPAND: Learn more about the group and their history on their website at: https://uacvoice.org/

EXPERIENCE: Watch the Story Gathering Project’s Video Quilts: https://uacvoice.org/story-gathering-project-video-quilts/ 

EXPLORE: Check out the UACC Artist Directory to learn more about the individual artists, including poet Pauletta Hansel, who was interviewed for this piece.  Visit: https://uacvoice.org/directory/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uaccvoice

BLOG: https://uacvoice.org/blog/



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