Cleveland, OH

Literary Cleveland's Amplify Projects provides platform for marginalized voices

Terrence Jacobs

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CLEVELAND – Literary Cleveland (LC) has launched a series of programs called the Amplify Projects, which aims to raise marginalized voices and provide a place and platform for people and communities to tell their stories on their own terms.

"Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and 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," said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her 2009 TED Talk about the power of stories, which what inspired LC to curate the program.

The Project is divided into three projects with different themes, and they were curated by LC interns Dr. Tisha Carter, Isaiah Hunt, and Alexander Saint Franqui. These sub-projects were designed to serve as an opportunity for local residents to amplify their voices as well as explore an important literary genre, such as Afrofuturism.

The first is an anthology published on April 9, 2021 called _Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio_. It features original poems and essays by 14 local writers that highlight the perspectives in the queer and trans community of Greater Cleveland.

The second, also an anthology, is called _Black Women Coping in Cleveland_ and was published on April 16, 2021 It features 13 essays and poems from local writers that highlight the experiences and perspectives of Black women in greater Cleveland.

For its third Amplify Projects program, LC offered a free class on March 22nd, 2021 called _The Future is in Color: Intro to Afrofuturism_, where writer and intern Isaiah Hunt explored the ways Blackness has entered the realm of sci-fi pop-culture through the works of Black Panther, Get Out, and Lovecraft Country, and that we should all look forward to 'the idea that the future is in color'.

To learn more about the project and join the class in fall, visit https://www.litcleveland.org/events-programs/amplify-projects.

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