Black Women Coping in Cleveland

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Black Women Coping in Cleveland is an anthology of original poems and essays by 13 local writers that highlights the experiences and perspectives of Black women in Greater Cleveland. The anthology was created by Dr. Tisha Carter, a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, 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. Scroll down to read the introduction and the full anthology.

Introduction

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.

—Dr. Tisha Carter

Cover photo by Amaris Marie Jones

Black Women Coping in Cleveland

"For Bender Ave. Girls" by Kelly Harris

"G.H.E.T.T.O" by Dominique Kizer

"Fighting Against the Odds" by Kim TheBWordPoet

"Emerald Necklace" by Michelle Sanders

"I Am Not" by Joy Johnson

"The City" by Rev. Dr. Leah C. K. Lewis, J.D.

"#Fake Crisis" by Dr. Mary Weems

"The Sorrow of Question" by Brittany Ervin (Miss Brit)

"My Angel" by Nailah Muhammad

"Heavy, So Heavy, Very Heavy" by Carolyn Cooper

"Postponing the Breakdown" by Danielle Dixon

"Division of Self" by Jada-Leigh McGregor

"I Choose" by Marsha Lynn Bragg

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

Black Women Coping in Cleveland is an anthology of original poems and essays by 13 local writers that highlights the experiences and perspectives of Black women in Greater Cleveland. The anthology was created by Dr. Tisha Carter, a participant in the internship program at Literary Cleveland, 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. Scroll down to read the introduction and the full anthology.

Introduction

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.

—Dr. Tisha Carter

Cover photo by Amaris Marie Jones

Black Women Coping in Cleveland

"For Bender Ave. Girls" by Kelly Harris

"G.H.E.T.T.O" by Dominique Kizer

"Fighting Against the Odds" by Kim TheBWordPoet

"Emerald Necklace" by Michelle Sanders

"I Am Not" by Joy Johnson

"The City" by Rev. Dr. Leah C. K. Lewis, J.D.

"#Fake Crisis" by Dr. Mary Weems

"The Sorrow of Question" by Brittany Ervin (Miss Brit)

"My Angel" by Nailah Muhammad

"Heavy, So Heavy, Very Heavy" by Carolyn Cooper

"Postponing the Breakdown" by Danielle Dixon

"Division of Self" by Jada-Leigh McGregor

"I Choose" by Marsha Lynn Bragg

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

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio 44113

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