Monday, August 26, 2013

Vision, strategies and leadership are key to rebuilding Central Appalachia, audience is told

Central Appalachian residents already have the knowledge to create sustainable economic alternatives and strengthen communities, but what they need now is vision, development strategies that work, and leadership, Justin Maxson, president of the Mountain Association for Community Development, said during a speech at the recent "Appalachia's Bright Future" conference in Harlan, Ky.

"We know a lot more than we than we think we know about the way forward," Maxson said. "We have many more assets to build from than we often believe. And despite our many challenges, including rapid changes to our local and regional economy, there are innovative people providing hopeful examples all around us. What we need now is to knit these pieces together with a vision for Appalachian renewal and help grow them to a meaningful scale. To do that, we need a movement that is big enough, inclusive enough, ambitious enough, and visionary enough to build a bright future here in the mountains."

Maxson said, "Fundamentally what we are talking about is an intentional effort to improve the quality of life for people and places affected by economic distress and degradation of our land and water." He said it's important to imagine a bright future, then work towards attaining it, that creating jobs and building strong communities is key, and that the region needs a new culture in leadership, including stronger political leaders, and new leadership that includes youth, entrepreneurs, artists, and others who are willing to stand up. (Read more)

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