|Kennedy Heights has a number of residents with Appalachian heritage which makes our treasured diversity even richer.
The secret behind those glorious dahlias at 5829 Wyatt is an Appalachian who has been tending the Common Good in Cincinnati with the same care and skill as his garden. It’s Mike Maloney, social scientist, community organizer, and humanitarian.
Born and raised in rural Breathitt County, Kentucky, Maloney moved to Cincinnati in his twenties and began to help this city develop effective antidotes to poverty. For five decades Mike has been writing the Social Areas of Cincinnati, a trove of census data and sophisticated analysis which local governments and non-profits rely on to pinpoint needs and design solutions. Mike spearheaded an entire landscape of urban and rural community development and arts programs including the Urban Appalachian Council and neighborhood GED programs throughout Cincinnati.
Mike’s consulting and community organizing work have won many accolades including the Maurice McCracken Award, the Appalachian Service Award from the Community Action Agency, and the Unsung Hero Award from Sinclair College. Now 75 and “retired,” Mike is organizing a national conference on community development for the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice while making time for writing, as well as consulting with Chip Harrrod and Pat Timm.
Mike moved to Kennedy Heights in 1999 because it fit his yearning for an integrated neighborhood within the city limits. “The concern for justice has a strong base in this community: people support each other,” he says. “I like the way Kennedy Heights handles differences. An example would be that there is a group in community council that wants to work with police to reduce crime, and another wants police to stay away from youth and to build a civic center. Council supports both narratives. I’ve never seen these groups angry with each other.” Urban Kennedy Heights delights this son of Appalachia. “I have space to garden. I can see the sun rise and set, which I couldn’t when we lived in Mt. Auburn, and there are creeks to which I can take my grandchildren,” he says, smiling. “When we go out walking, people say hello. There are people who share our concerns for civil rights, education reform, and ecumenical work, and others interested in none of the above, and we still can be friends.”