Friday, February 13, 2009

A Hidden America: Children of Appalachia

I really want to discuss this episode of 2020. I am from Eastern Kentucky, I am a child of the Appalachia Mountains. I will admit I was weary about how Kentucky would be portrayed (see earlier post). It amazes me how you can go 20 miles of the town where I am from and see people living as if they were in a third world country.
I was in tears throughout the majority of the show. It really hurts me that people live this way, especially so close to my home.
There are many people who are from this area that are upset of the way Eastern Kentucky was portrayed. It is upsetting, upsetting in the fact that this is the way some people are forced to live. Eastern Kentucky is a beautiful and wonderful place to live and I wish that sometimes the world would focus on that. But right now the children who are loosing their loved ones to perscription pills and being forced into foster care are the ones who need attention. I find it so selfish that people want the world to know that some people who live in Eastern Kentucky live in lavish homes or drive expensive cars, when right now that is not the issue. The issue is those who barely have a home. Case in point the high school football stars that sleeps in his truck or in the locker room on a mattress (my eyes start filling up with tears just thinking about it).
I realize that there is poverty throughout the United States. I know that there are homeless people in big cities and small towns. But in big cities they have services (homeless shelters, free clinics on almost every other bloc, and soup kitchens) here in E. KY those things are rare. I only hope that that will change after 2020.
I just don't understand how people can just sit there and complain that they didn't show any of the "wealthy" people on national television, while this is going on. I am so inspired to go out there and do whatever I can to help put a stop to this.
As for my fellow Kentuckian and sorority sister Diane Sawyer I thought she did a wonderful job.
I'm not sure if you can watch the episode online and watch the episode but if you can I highly recommend it. It's hard to believe that this is happening in our country. if you get a chance visit this site.( A group of media students came to Eastern Kentucky over the summer to get some shots of Eastern Kentucky. There media piece is excellent as well as the photos.
Now some pictures of Eastern Kentucky...

This is of Bad Branch Falls in Letcher County. It is one of the prettiest places I have ever been, so peaceful.

This picture is from this is where the star football player that I mentioned lived earlier lives. This is 2 counties away from where I am from.

ABC News' Diane Sawyer poses with 12-year-old Courtney, second from right, and three generations of mountain women. Courtney's grandmother, Dinah, far left, holds her sister Sable, 2. Also pictured are Courtney's mother, Angel, far right, and sisters Hannah, 7, and Mary, 11. In total, 11 people live under one roof. (photo and caption from

This is a picture I took at the Pikeville airport in August of last year. These are my mountains. I will eventually leave this area and head further south, but these mountains will always be the place I call home.


Sarah said...

i watched this special and it was not easy to see the poverty in our country at such a low. i was most surprised by the dental issues children are facing and the lack of medial care. i know it is there, just not the best. i am glad to hear that you are not in the position of one of those children anymore and that you are happy and going to college. that seems to be a rarity for that area. have a great day!

ChelseaMarie said...

It really isn't a rarity to have a college education in this area. Pikeville (where I lived) seems like a little bubble compared to these other areas. I have never been in the situation of these people and everyone in my family is college educated (my father is an attorney and my mother has her degree in history). Perhaps I lived a sheltered life but growing up I didn't know that that kind of poverty existed. Only now as a grown woman and working with the public have I been exposed to this kind other world a few miles from where I am from. Many of us in this area have lived very privileged lives, but unfortunately many other have not had the opportunity to do so. Medical care is an issue but it does exist. This has encouraged me to try to help out those who are less fortunate than I.

Peppermint Bee said...

I didn't see this 20/20 episode, I wish I had though. Half of my family lives in Kentucky, and I lived there for five years. I have driven though areas like that many times. My father's family hails from Hazard County. Although, they have all relocated. I remember talking to my Mom after driving through E. KY and just being overwhelmed by the way those people lived. It really is very sad.