- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - After four decades, an organization that has helped numerous Appalachians in southwestern Ohio is coming to an end.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (https://cin.ci/1jyKEyV) that the nonprofit Urban Appalachian Council lacked funding to continue. The council was formed in 1974 in Cincinnati to help people coming into the urban area from their rural home region. It has offered education, job readiness, cultural awareness and other social programs.

Eastern Kentucky native Michael Maloney said when he came to Cincinnati in the late 1960s to attend seminary and college, he saw fellow Appalachians being treated as second-class citizens. He helped form the council. He said the majority of Appalachian migrants have done well, but there are still issues for some of the estimated half million people from Appalachia or with Appalachian roots in the area.

“We aren’t meeting people getting off the bus like we did in the ‘60s,” Maloney said. “We’re dealing with long-term problems like lack of education, unemployment, substance abuse and crime. This time allows us to step back and think about that.”

Some of the council’s work will continue through AmeriCorps and adult education programs that will be managed by other social services agencies. Council leaders hope to work with the Citizens for Civil Renewal nonprofit to work out what else can be done. Maloney said research committee that has helped many scholars over the years will keep meeting, and there will be renewed efforts to promote the music, art and other culture of the Appalachian region that includes much of southern and eastern Ohio and eastern Kentucky.

“Ethnic pride can cut both ways; it can divide people and it can unite people,” Maloney said. “But we all need to know where we came from or we don’t know where we are. We are all immigrants, therefore we need to be accepting of the next group that comes to town.”

Among those disappointed at the news of the council’s end was Omope Carter Daboiku, whose father grew up in Virginia and mother in Georgia.

“It’s a regional culture, not a bloodline or race,” said Daboiku, who has taken part in the annual Appalachian Festival in Cincinnati.

She said the news was “like finding out one of your first cousins is dying, and you ain’t got the money to go see him.”


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com

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