Amplify Projects

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In her 2009 TED Talk, "The Danger of a Single Story," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the power of stories. Our lives, our communities, and our cultures are all composed of overlapping stories, but there is a very real danger if we hear only a single reductive story about another person or place. She says, "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. ...when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

At Literary Cleveland it is our mission to amplify marginalized voices—to place power into the hands of people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms. That is why this spring we are launching an ongoing series of programs we're calling Literary Cleveland Amplify Projects designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate our many stories.

Our first three programs have been designed by our spring 2021 interns: Dr. Tisha Carter, Isaiah Hunt, and Alexander Saint Franqui. These are not only exciting passion projects for these three talented individuals, they are also opportunities to amplify the voices of our local residents (including Black women and LGBTQ2 individuals) and to explore an important literary genre (afrofuturism). See the links below for more information, and stay tuned for more Amplify Projects coming soon.

Spring 2021 Projects

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Black Women Coping in Cleveland

Anthology

Friday, April 16, 2021 Literary Cleveland published a new online anthology called “Black Women Coping in Cleveland.” The anthology features original poems and essays by 13 local writers and highlights the experiences and perspectives of Black women in Greater Cleveland.

“Black Women Coping in Cleveland” was created by Dr. Tisha Carter, a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, as a part of the new Amplify Projects series. This series was designed to empower, uplift, celebrate, and center marginalized communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.  

In January of 2020, City Lab released a study that deemed Cleveland the worst large city in America for Black women. According to the report, Cleveland came in last or second to last for educational outcomes, income, and health outcomes for Black women. This report, along with Dr. Carter’s personal experience, inspired her to create this anthology.  

Read the anthology here.


This project is presented in partnership with National Congress of Black Women Greater Cleveland Chapter, Great Lakes African American Writers Conference, and Enlightened Solutions.

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Breaking the Silence: Queer Life in NE Ohio

Anthology

Friday, April 9, 2021, Literary Cleveland published a new online anthology called "Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio." The anthology features original poems and essays by 14 local writers and highlights the wealth of perspectives in the queer and trans community of Greater Cleveland.

"Breaking the Silence" was designed and led by Literary Cleveland intern and Oberlin student Alexander Saint Franqui as part of Literary Cleveland's new Amplify Projects series, which is designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate communities by giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

Franqui was inspired to create this anthology by the national Day of Silence, an annual student protest again the harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ2 students in schools. On this day, usually observed on the second Friday of April, students around the country and the world take a vow of silence to draw attention to the voices we lose when LGBTQ2 individuals are forced to silence themselves. At the end of the day, participants Break the Silence by attending various rallies and events to share their stories. For this reason, Literary Cleveland’s new anthology was published on April 9th, the traditional Day of Silence.

Read the anthology here.

This project is presented in partnership with The Buckeye Flame, The Cleveland Street Chronicle, GLSEN Northeast Ohio, and TransFamily Cleveland.

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The Future Is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism

Class

As part of Literary Cleveland's new Amplify Projects series, we offered a free class on Afrofuturism taught by writer and spring intern Isaiah Hunt.

In a world where the future is now, Afrofuturism blends black culture and sci-fi themes into one beautiful genre. It has been seen in the works of recent hit movies Get Out and Black Panther, and the popular TV show Lovecraft Country. But where did Afrofuturism begin? How does it differ from science fiction? In this class, we will traverse the history of Afrofuturism and challenge our perception of sci-fi in a new way. From dark dystopias to black utopias, we’ll explore authors such as W.E.B. Dubois, Octavia Butler, Sun Ra, and other black sci-fi writers who’ve taken their stories to the stars and introduced the idea that the future is in color. It’s time for tomorrow’s fiction to celebrate blackness.

The Future Is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism with Isaiah Hunt was held Monday, March 22. This free class may be offered again in the fall of 2021—stay tuned! 

Learn More

In her 2009 TED Talk, "The Danger of a Single Story," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the power of stories. Our lives, our communities, and our cultures are all composed of overlapping stories, but there is a very real danger if we hear only a single reductive story about another person or place. She says, "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. ...when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

At Literary Cleveland it is our mission to amplify marginalized voices—to place power into the hands of people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms. That is why this spring we are launching an ongoing series of programs we're calling Literary Cleveland Amplify Projects designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate our many stories.

Our first three programs have been designed by our spring 2021 interns: Dr. Tisha Carter, Isaiah Hunt, and Alexander Saint Franqui. These are not only exciting passion projects for these three talented individuals, they are also opportunities to amplify the voices of our local residents (including Black women and LGBTQ2 individuals) and to explore an important literary genre (afrofuturism). See the links below for more information, and stay tuned for more Amplify Projects coming soon.

Our Instructors

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