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New Orleans Author Finds Success With Social Justice Publication

Walter Rhein

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Screenshot of Cultured landing page by Walter Rhein

Allison Gaines is the editor and founder of Cultured, an online publication where writers from a culturally diverse background meet to discuss important ideas.

Cultured is a publication created for social activists. We curate stories about race, equality, womanism, culture, sexuality, and mental health. Our goal is to amplify voices making a difference within society—Allison Gaines

The audience for Cultured is steadily growing, and through it Gains has been able to assist in bringing much needed attention to important authors and topics. Her work is always well-considered and well-researched and helps put social justice issues into their historical context.

Gaines herself has an interesting background with large variety of interests. Like many writers, her interest in expressing herself in articles and stories has been a lifelong compulsion. This compulsion has manifested itself in both academic and professional choices.

I am a writer, ESL teacher, scholar, and civil rights activist. For me, writing is a joy, a hobby, and an important element of my career. The first time someone published my work was in high school. The pride associated with that event made me a life-long writer. As a writer, I enjoy advocating for racial equity. That' s my niche and I'm proud of that. I don't shy away because it makes some people feel uncomfortable—Allison Gaines

The research portion of her work has become second nature. Gains is currently pursuing a path of higher education, and supporting her own thoughts and ideas in an academic context is part of her daily grind.

As a scholar, I am pursuing my PhD in Psychology where I am researching implicit bias. In the coming years, I will construct an experiment to examine the role phenotypicical bias plays in pain management. One thing you should know about me is, I am the same person every day of the week. Meaning, when I'm off of work, I am interested in social justice and that dial doesn't turn off. I'm a fun person. Even at 32, I never ditched my childhood. I still watch cartoons and laugh at the most ridiculous things. Overall, my friends can depend on me, ask me advice, and I never say "I told you so." My name is Allison and my mother told me it means "honest." And while I'm imperfect like everyone else, I can say I try to live up to the name given to me—Allison Gaines

Much of her inspiration for Cultured comes from the ongoing civil rights struggle reflected in modern day America, but it also has roots with heroes from the civil rights movement.

I wanted to make a publication that encouraged "good trouble," as the late great John Lewis used to say. Too often, media representatives take a both-siderism approach which diminishes marginalized groups and their representatives. Cultured is different because we are JEDIs. We represent justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion—Allison Gaines

The importance of civil rights activism has only grown over the last few years. Allison explains her reasoning for joining an already crowded field.

One writer once asked me, "Why are you making this pub. There are other pubs that support activists." I told him that every person has a unique voice and story to tell. Some larger pubs miss the opportunity to publish from new writers. Cultured has the time to nurture writers into the best version of themselves. We support publications who inspire activists. Nevertheless, Cultured is one of a kind—Allison Gaines

One of the fundamental freedoms of the United States is the right to free speech. The work Allison Gaines does with Cultured is designed to magnify the stories and the voices that represent the most critical issues of our time.

To read the latest stories from Cultured, click here.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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