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

Call for Submissions

In January of 2020, City Lab released a study that deemed Cleveland, OH 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.

What is the impact of living as a Black woman in a city that considers you unworthy of the opportunity or treatment offered to any other residents? How do you survive, cope, or thrive in such an environment?

Through our new Amplify Projects, Literary Cleveland is launching Black Women Coping in Cleveland, a writing project led by spring intern Dr. Tisha Carter. For this project we are seeking essays and poems by Black women about their experiences living in Cleveland. If you fall into this category this is your opportunity to be heard. Submit your writing about what it is like for you to live in Cleveland, what struggles you face, where you find comfort and joy. We’re looking for any and all writing about your life in the city, not just those that fit into media narratives. Tell your whole truth.

Dr. Carter will select poems and essays for publication in an online anthology, a collective of many Black women’s experiences in the worst large city for them in America. Deadline for submissions is March 22, 2021. Learn more and submit here.

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Breaking the Silence: Queer Life in NE Ohio

Call for Submissions

Day of Silence started in the mid-’90s and since has been widely popularized by the LGBTQ2 advocacy group, GLSEN. LGBTQ2 students and allies around the country and the world take a vow of silence on this day to protest the bullying and discrimination of LGBTQ2 people in schools. At the end of the day, participants Break the Silence by attending various rallies and events to share their stories.

2020 was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender non-conforming people according to data from the Human Rights Campaign. At least 44 people were killed, the majority of which were Black transgender women. In states with smaller LGBTQ2 communities, violent acts and deaths are felt even harsher. With the addition of the pandemic, queer communities are faced with numerous other crises, including public health, mental health, isolation, and loss of community centers.

Through our new Amplify Projects, Literary Cleveland is launching Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio, a writing project led by spring intern Alexander Saint Franqui. After a tragic year for our community, Breaking the Silence seeks to uplift narratives that center on the queer experience in the Greater Cleveland area, especially those written by Black/Indigenous/People of Color. For this project, we are accepting poetry, prose, essays, creative non-fiction, and flash fiction written by queer/LGBTQ2 identified people.

Saint will select poems and essays for publication in an online anthology, a collective of queer experiences in the Greater Cleveland area. Deadline for submissions: March 22, 2021. Learn more and submit here.

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The Future Is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism

Class

As part of Literary Cleveland's new Amplify Projects series, we are offering 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 will be held Monday, March 22 at 7 p.m. EST. Learn more and register for free here.

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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