From “Hope and Contraditions in Appalachia” by Travis Stimeling, West Virginia native and associate professor of music history at West Virginia University. In the quote below he is referring to J. D. Vance, author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and Elizabeth Catte author of ‘What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia’.
“My Appalachia is an Appalachia of contradictions. But unlike Vance’s desolate and hopeless Appalachia, my Appalachia is, like Catte’s, a hopeful one. It’s one in which people still check in on their neighbors and gather together to share a few songs, regardless of their faith, politics, race, or class. It’s one in which I, as a straight white man, can stand proudly in solidarity with my queer neighbors to demand equal treatment under the law and learn more about how to support other people’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness through compassionate listening and deliberate action. It’s one where cutting-edge scientific research is conducted every day and where future technologies and traditional folkways both provide guidance toward a bright tomorrow.”
Please take a minute to read “Hope and Contraditions in Appalachia” in its entirety. Our wish is that it will give you, as it did us, a renewed sense of hope in the future of West Virginia and the Appalachian region. Elizabeth Catte is challenging our people to take control of the narrative about Appalachia, to counter negativity with our own stories. Travis Stimeling has inspired us to join in and share more about our home among the hills. #MyAppalachia