'Last Mountain' panel led by Urban Appalachian Council

From the cresting mountain ridges of Appalachia to the rolling hills of Cincinnati, the story of one small community’s fight against big coal corporations resonates with a message of environmental justice.

That story will be told during a screening of the documentary, “The Last Mountain,” and a panel discussion afterward, moderated by the executive director of the Urban Appalachian Council, Greg Howard.

The free public events kick off the Passport to the World Series Appalachian Culturefest at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The panel includes University of Cincinnati biological sciences professor Eric Maurer; Shanon Rice, photographer and curator of “A Coal Story,” a photographic exhibit now at the Museum Center that delves into the lives of coal miners; coal miner Claude Stamper; Richard Durtsche, Northern Kentucky University biology professor; and associate journalism professor (and SoapboxMedia managing editor) Elissa Yancey.

The documentary “Last Mountain” takes an intense look at how the townspeople of Coal River Valley, W.Va., battled to protect a mountaintop from destruction at the hands of big coal corporations.

Many Cincinnatians have deep family roots in Appalachia, which led to the formation of the Urban Appalachian Council in the early 1970s. UAC is a service and advocacy organization working to improve the quality of life for urban Appalachians in the Greater Cincinnati area. Families who migrated to Cincinnati generations ago note interesting parallels between what’s taking place in Coal River Valley and the streets of the Queen City.

The close-knit Appalachian culture, where complaints are few and publicity shied away from, does not make advocacy a natural path for them. The results have not served the people, or the land upon which they depend, well. In many ways, Coal River Valley sets out a new vision for Appalachians willing to stand up for their own health and well-being, for their own futures.

Do Good:
• See the movie; hear the panel. The Insights Lecture series event will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Click here for more information.

• Like the Urban Appalachian Council on Facebook.

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