“Divides aren’t natural. They’re imposed. . . .We’re looking to build a bigger neighborhood.”

Ben Fink

In this episode, journey with us to Letcher County, Kentucky—the heart of Appalachian coal country. We’ll examine both the reality of divides that exist where we might not expect them, and the fallacy of divides we create by accepting stereotypes about others—and about ourselves.

Our guest is Ben Fink, an ensemble member of Roadside Theater in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Roadside Theater supports community members’ efforts to design their own solutions to their own problems—by bringing people together to tell their stories, listen to the unique stories of others, and create community and economic opportunity through theater.

Ben comes at the notion of “divides”—and how to bridge them—from a perspective we’ve not yet explored. He challenges us to rethink the very notion of divides. As he sees it, we’ve been sold a false narrative that we are a nation of Red-Blue, Urban-Rural, North-South, Us-Them. Sure, divides exist—at a national level and in our neighborhoods. But when we let divides define us, we give up an important source of power—our shared experiences and commonalities. In this episode, Ben shares stories of what is possible when communities reclaim that power and create their future.

Cite This

“Discovering & Debunking Divides in the Heart of Coal Country -- Harvard Law School Podcast on Performing Our Future.” January 16, 2020.

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