Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay

Derek Akal, 22, grew up in the famed coalfields of Harlan County, Kentucky. He’s a bit over six feet tall, he’s black, and he has an athlete’s build. Like many young people in central Appalachia, he is torn between a desire to find work at home where he can be close to family and the community he knows, or whether to venture out to other parts where there might be more opportunities for a young man. WMMT Reporter Benny Becker followed Derek for over a year as he explored his options for his future.