Amanda Kiger has seen the town’s problems up close as a community organizer for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “East Liverpool has been ravaged by the drug issues and there is no work,” she said. Amanda Kiger is an activist who’s trying to reduce pollution and keep industry accountable. “Why is ok to say people here don’t matter?” she asks.
Kiger points to the unemployment rates in the city, which are higher than the state average, and the percentage of people in poverty and living with disabilities. “Our city is so poor that in our school system, everybody gets free lunch,” she said. “You do not even have to do an application in the East Liverpool schools anymore.”
The city’s history of boom and bust industry, of welcoming polluting businesses because people need the jobs, has become its hallmark. East Liverpool was once considered the pottery capital of the nation. The coal industry that flourished for a period is also on its way out.