When WYSO launched the Senior Voices series with the Dayton Metro Library and Rebuilding Together Dayton a few years ago, we connected with staff from CityWide Development Corporation. They knew there were important stories of strength and resilience yet to be told, and suggested we continue collecting stories from Dayton’s west side neighborhoods, especially those of elders living within the Germantown Street corridor.
After several years of discussions, the West Dayton Stories project was born. We met with civic groups and neighborhood activists at churches and libraries to come up with a plan. Eventually we brought together a creative, committed group of community producers to train during the winter and spring of 2020.
And then, as everyone knows, the pandemic hit.
But the project has continued, even though we aren’t able to meet and train and conduct interviews in person right now.
Meet our first WDS community producers. They begin by sharing thoughts on life, living, and community during the time of covid. In the months ahead, look for more commentaries and profiles that tell West Dayton Stories.
Jocelyn Robinson of the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices is the project director. Our theme music is “Inheritance,” written and performed by Dayton’s own Mariah J.
CityWide has been our partner on "West Dayton Stories," providing in-kind support through fundraising, community outreach, and relationship-building. WesBanco, Fifth Third, and the City of Dayton provided financial support.
Few people have contributed more to building community than sociology professor and activist Amaha Sellassie. From co-founding the West Dayton Strong after school program to the Gem City Market, he can be found at the front of efforts to make Dayton an equitable and just place. But sometimes, that comes at a price.
Jaylon Yates is a self-made boss. That’s how he got his stage name, SMB Jay. Even in the best of times, he’s got to keep a lot of balls in the air, let alone during a pandemic.
Storyteller and folklorist Omopé Carter Daboiku draws on the deep well of her Appalachian forebears in her professional life, but that heritage has also proven to be a source of solace and inspiration in these tough times.
Gem City native Loveyah Stewart is a photographer who thrives on capturing vibrant images of the people and places in our community. Social distancing, though, has given her a new perspective.
The coronavirus pandemic has each one of us trying to figure out just how we’re gonna get through it all. Today we hear how community producer Leah Byrd has been doing it. A graduate of Wright State University’s film program, Leah has received a lot of buzz for their comedy web series, called Hot & Bothered, for which they were writer, director, and star.
Dayton’s African American community has a rich history and a vibrant present, and there are important stories of strength and resilience to be told. We launched the West Dayton Stories project in the winter of 2020, bringing together a group of Dayton residents as community producers.