The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, the existing disparities it highlights, and perspectives on the virus’ impact on different communities and issue areas. While everyone, regardless of race and national origin, is experiencing stress related to the pandemic, Black senior citizens, children and youth residing in hypersegregated neighborhoods are especially vulnerable to this stress.
A partnership between Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present and Future, the Youth Resiliency Institute and the National Rites of Passage Institute, Soul City Cleveland Stories is a culturally responsive community arts pilot project designed to connect youth participants residing in under-resourced communities to elder Black artists through generative immersion.
Through Soul City Cleveland Stories, project participants ages 15-21 will interview elder Black musicians and singers. In the process, participants will learn about the role that music has played in the African-American community in inspiring hope, optimism, pride and joy- important in a time when the nation and state are overwhelmed with personal experiences and news of hate crimes, bias, devaluation of older lives, discrimination and injustice aimed towards people of color. Furthermore, project participants will be provided with opportunities to interact and remember the ancestry of communities while impacting the literacy of place and history.
Through a mix of virtual and in-person workshops, project participants will engage in journalism and video production using the latest technology. Participants will explore pedagogy that surround digital media thus addressing the historic marginalization and stigmatization of youth voice in under-resourced communities while developing orientations toward digital media methods of acquiring new knowledge, employability skills, and a sense of their own identities as producers of authentic media. As part of the project, participants will initiate a repository that respectfully archives the wisdom and knowledge of elder Black artists.
An important goal of Soul City Cleveland Stories is to leverage pre-existing partnerships to prioritize equity, strengthen authentic community engagement, and provide safe space to dispel the racialized and class-based stigma that attaches to marginalized communities and populations.