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Black Joy Project

September 22, 2020

A student reads at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School

Did you know that September 12 was officially declared Black Joy Day in the City of Boston? Created with the help of City Councilor Julia Mejia and non-profit leader, photographer, and community activist Thaddius Miles, Black Joy Day is a day to appreciate and celebrate our power to uplift ourselves and others despite the challenges we face in our world today.

We want to hear from you about joy—specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. Black joy is perseverance, Black joy is healing, Black joy is laughter, and Black joy is critical to our survival. It is a reminder that our laughter, the things we love, our unapologetic joy fuels our liberation.

If you’re between the ages of 12-19, submit your poems, essays, stories, or artwork to the Black Joy Project and you could see your piece published. You can submit your piece here (all submissions are due by October 19). Find out more information about the project here.

This youth writing competition and book project is being done in partnership with MBK Boston, 826 Boston, and the Black Joy Project by Thaddeus Miles. 826 Boston Youth Literary Advisory Board members Asiyah Herrera, Zariah Eisner, and Kaylany Vicente will be the youth judges for this project.

Here is a message about the Black Joy Project from Thaddeus Miles:

“Over the last few weeks and months, many have awoken to the fact that we live in a society shaped by oppression, racism, and violence. We find it on full display daily on our social media timelines, articles, and televised reports. While the marches are important, visual conscious acts and expressions of joy are vital forms of resistance. In support and encouragement of our expressions of joy, we are launching The Black Joy Writing Contest.

Black joy has a lot of different meanings. For some, it is living radiantly and unapologetically in your skin—being fierce and in a true celebration of yourself no matter what your personal or collective circumstance. For others, Black joy is dancing, singing, and laughing even in the most challenging times. It’s surrounding yourself with your culture and people, as well as feeling safe and at home.”


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