We believe in the power of storytelling and the importance of investing in the future by sharing those stories – whether they are stories of successful community ventures or lessons learned from stories of things you wish happened just a little bit differently. These are the stories of communities working together for the common good. This article is part of “We Are Here: Housing Insecurity in Cincinnati,” a series produced by Women of Cincy and originally published at womenofcincy.org/housing.
Written by Chelsie Walter. Photography by Angie Lipscomb and Chelsie Walter. | After Eddie shared his story, we thanked him, threw around a couple of jokes, and chatted off the record. Next, Momma joined us. Momma, a middle aged woman with kind eyes and flecks of gray in her ponytail, hails from Kentucky. After spending two minutes with her, it’s easy to see why “Momma” has become her nickname in the community.
“I’ve had a very diverse lifestyle. I don’t have any college background but I have a lot of life experience. I worked in the emergency room for eight years; I was a 911 dispatcher for 12 years. Not to put a blame on anyone but I went through a divorce. I started drinking a little bit, and it just became a rollercoaster.”
After chatting with both Momma and Eddie, we joined a small crowd that had gathered around Bison. Bison is an artist in every sense of the word. That day, he was creating jewelry. I knelt down, snapped a few pics, and got to know the unconventional mayor a little better off the record. By the end of our time there, I felt comfortable, welcomed and impressed. This community supported each other, looked out for each other, and shared resources. They all played roles: Bison the mayor, Momma the caregiver, Eddie the wise counsel and Bison’s mentor.
I hope this gives you a glimpse into the goodness that exists here, the strength and hope that lives here. This camp is now gone, but I hope the community and friendships survive, and their time together can help outsiders understand what it means to be human a little better.