West Side

American Friends Service Committee South Region

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where people are comfortable talking about these things.

But in Trey's hometown of Charleston, some of the key players are now bringing this tension out into the open.

Trey Kay

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On the West Virginia Morning, in 2016, about 15 thousand people were killed by gun violence in the U.S. About 3 thousand teenagers were either injured or killed. In Charleston, West Virginia, there were 11 murders in 2016 -- eight of them occurred on the West Side of town and many of them were teens.

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Deanna McKinney’s family. Deanna’s a de facto mom to her three sisters and two brothers -- when she moved to West Virginia from New York City, they came too.  These Sunday dinners are to remind the siblings that someone’s always got their back.

Deanna’s told the story of her son’s murder so many times, that she can recount it to me -- a relative stranger with a microphone -- while she picks out cornbread mix at the grocery store. His name was Tymel and his senseless death is an experience that has defined her life and informed who she is.

PBS NewsHour/Sam Weber

We often hear about urban cities, like Detroit, that are dealing with abandoned, dilapidated buildings. But some communities in West Virginia are struggling with neighborhood blight too.

The WV Hub is working with partners across West Virginia to plan a three day event in Huntington this October. The summit will help people across West Virginia who are working to fix blighted, abandoned and dilapidated properties. Civic groups in Huntington have been collaborating on this type of work and have made great strides recently.

Roxy Todd

On a sultry summer evening, three women are killing harlequin beetles in an effort to save the greens at the SAGE micro-farm on Rebecca Street that they landscaped themselves.

Last year, Kathy Moore, Jenny Totten and Meg Reishman completed 18 agriculture and business classes through SAGE, which stands for Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurs. Kathy says she loves getting to take home an unlimited supply of fresh vegetables each week.

Roxy Todd

The West Side in Charleston is one of the largest urban neighborhoods in the state. Within sight of the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School are vacant lots and abandoned buildings. This neighborhood is besieged with many problems like childhood poverty and high crime rates. It’s also a neighborhood that suffers from negative stereotyping—a place where good people and good projects are often overlooked.