Last spring, in working on this mission, Literary Cleveland launched an ongoing series of programs we’re calling Literary Cleveland Amplify Projects, and among the first three projects was Black Women Coping in Cleveland, created by our intern Dr. Tisha Carter.
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, compiled in response to the deeply disturbing 2020 study by CityLab that found the outcomes for Black women living in Cleveland to be the worst overall in the country in terms of health, education, and economics.
This year, Literary Cleveland and Dr. Carter have partnered with the MLK Branch of Cleveland Public Library to build on the original Amplify Project by offering free, expanded programming under the name Black Women Coping in Community (BWCC). Black Women Coping in Community is a series of four free in-person programs open to the public and intended for participants to come together, share your experiences, and speak truth to power in ways that may create more positive outcomes for the city.
Black Women Coping in Community: Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 8 - 4-5:30pm
Join us for a free panel bringing together Black women from diverse backgrounds to enlighten about different aspects of coping in Cleveland, including poverty, medical racism, environmental racism, underemployment/unemployment, work/wage discrimination, and police abuse/brutality. Panelists include incredible Cleveland women and waymakers Phyllis Harris, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Cleveland, Yvonka Hall, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, and Leah Ross, co-visionary and outreach director for New City Cleveland. This program, hosted by Dr. Tisha Carter, is the kickoff event of the Black Women Coping in Community (BWCC) series.
Write About Now: BWCC Therapeutic Journaling Workshop
Tuesday, April 12 - 4-5:30pm
Journaling is a powerful tool for processing difficult emotions and healing from traumatic events. Black women and girls are invited to attend this free interactive workshop on journaling, facilitated by Dr. Tisha Carter.
Creating in Community: BWCC Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry Writing Workshop
Tuesday, May 10 - 4-5:30pm
Use storytelling, poetry, and essay writing to explore the past, discuss the present, or imagine a new future. In this free workshop, Black women and girls are invited to learn tools and techniques to amplify their voices and represent their unique experiences and perspectives. This program is facilitated by Michelle R. Smith, Programming Associate for Literary Cleveland.
Amplified: BWCC Open Mic
Tuesday, June 14 - 4-5:30pm
Black girls and women are invited to take the mic and tell their stories of coping in Cleveland. All forms of poetry and storytelling are welcome. This free program is facilitated by Michelle R. Smith.
Facilitators: Dr. Tisha Carter has continuously focused her efforts on creating spaces for women, especially African American women, to have an opportunity to find and develop their voices. Dr. Carter obtained a Bachelors in Journalism & Promotional Communications at Cleveland State University, an MBA at Walden University, and a Doctorate of Ministry as South University. Dr. Carter currently works as the Director of Residency at Grace Church. She sits on the board of a local non-profit organization, The Urban Christian Woman, and operates a small business called We Eight.
Michelle R. Smith is the programming associate for Literary Cleveland and a teaching artist for Lake Erie Ink. She is the author of the poetry collections Ariel in Black (2015) and The Vagina Analogues (2020). She has been published in poemmemoirstory, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, The Normal School, and The Gasconade Review. She has been a featured reader, instructor, and panelist at The Lakewood Public Library, The East Cleveland Public Library, The Cuyahoga County Public Library, The Cleveland Museum of Arts, Cleveland Drafts – Brews + Prose, PNC Fairfax Connection, Case Western Reserve University’s Writers House, and Literary Cleveland’s Inkubator Conference. She is also the creator, co-producer, and director of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase for Northeast Ohio artists open to all forms and dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture.