Miami Herald: EKY and Poverty

Published by the Miami Herald

Written by: Leonard Pitts, Jr.

These days, he is executive director of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of school districts banded together to increase their purchasing power and provide teacher training, but at the time of this TV program, he was teaching high school. So he gave his students an assignment: re-cut the video and supply their own narrative. The kids, he says, had a different spin.

“They saw that the family who lived there was pretty creative because they had found a way to get potable water out of a deep mine and have it ran through a filter and into their house, because there was no way they could dig a well where they lived.”

In other words, where a TV network saw hardship, they saw resourcefulness. “I think for me, personally,” says Hawkins, “it’s about the difference in the way we present those two stories. We are not defeated. We should not look at ourselves as defeated. We have to acknowledge the challenges that we have, but we have to figure out how we’re going to get stronger moving through those.”

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