by Dr. Tisha Carter
I actually hadn’t heard of the statistics offered by January 2020 CityLab article on the poor outcomes for Black women living in Cleveland, but I felt them.
After obtaining three degrees, I was unemployable according to the City of Cleveland. For three years, I applied for over 400 hundred different jobs only to maintain consistent unemployment. I believed that America would offer me a vast array of opportunities if I educated myself and assimilated according to the “standard,” but in the Cleveland job market, that isn’t what happened for me at all. I also had horrific healthcare experiences that a lot of my non-Black friends could not even imagine, some of which I shared in the Literary Cleveland Beauty for Ashes program.
I then noticed that all my Black women friends were relocating outside of Cleveland to acquire better professional opportunities, quality healthcare, and educational experiences that were more conducive to their specific needs.
This could not have been a coincidence.
In the Fall 2020, during the pandemic, I stumbled upon the article by CityLab through a project Courtney Covers Cleveland was offering with Enlightened Solutions. All of a sudden, I felt affirmed. I felt freed from the emotional trap that had been set for me—a trap that made me like it was my fault that I was deemed unemployable.
I knew that there had to be more women who had stories and experiences like mine that reflected the numbers in the CityLab article. I asked myself, “Who and where are these women that made these statistics accurate and true?” Not only did I want to find them, I wanted to offer them a platform to share their experiences. I wanted to amplify their voices.
This desire inspired me to create this anthology, Black Women Coping in Cleveland. My hope is to engage, amplify, and encourage change amongst the systems that create situations of oppression for Black women living in Cleveland and all over the US.
I want to continuously provide spaces where women, especially Black women, can be heard and seen regarding both their struggles within and contributions to the growth and development of societal systems.