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West Dayton Stories is a community-based story-telling project centered on the people and places of Dayton’s vibrant west side. WYSO brings together community producers to tell stories reflecting its proud history, current complexities, and future hopes.

West Dayton Stories: What A Time To Be Alive

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West Dayton Stories producer Loveyah Stewart

A whole lot has happened in the last three decades. Community producer Loveyah Stewart reflects on how she got to this moment.

What a time to be alive!

So, I was born in 1987; I've lived in three different decades, two different centuries, and two different millennia--all before the age of thirty-four. If you didn't notice, I'm a millennial--you know, folks born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Yes, Beyoncé is a millennial! But I digress.

Check this out: I've lived through wars in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the OJ Simpson trial, and September the eleventh. Don't forget about the 2008 recession or the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which is still very current. But that's another story for another day.

I’ve lived through compact disks, VHS tapes, the land line phone with the squiggly cord. AOL download. Shout out to my mom for kind of being a pioneer--we had DSL, never had to wait. There’s Super Mario Brothers, nano babies, emojis, Napster, the evolution of the iPhone. The increase of mass shootings and cybercrime.

Remember the good old days when you had to actually go to the store to buy music, the excitement of ripping that irritating piece of tape off the top of the CD jacket and reading the lyrics from the little booklet? Don't forget your battery and your CD player with the anti-skip on it, either!

I got to witness the first Black president be sworn into office in 2008 and 2012. I remember the feeling of change and determination when I voted on that cold November day. I remember the feeling of my ancestors’ blood flowing even deeper in in my soul. Even richer. Richer than the best milk chocolate candy bar. At that moment it clicked. You truly can do anything you put your mind and energy to. And allow the universe to do the rest.

We’re our ancestors’ wildest dreams. So wild that millennials got to witness the election of the first Black Indian madam vice president. Let me repeat that for the people in the back: The first Black vice president. Put some respect in her name.

Millennials have witnessed a lot in a very short time frame. And there's more to come. As soon as this pandemic is over.

West Dayton Stories is produced by Jocelyn Robinson at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices and is supported by CityWide Development Corporation.